Forget the sales, the crowd, the fame, the production, or even the supporting cast of instrumentals. You could strip it all away and Jacob Banks would still sound just as impressive. When placed alone, Banks’s vocal delivery echoes deeply with ominousness and attention-grabbing power similar to the voices of other esteemed British superstars like Seal or Benjamin Clementine. It’s no wonder such a robust voice propelled Banks to triumph in British singing competitions like MOBO’s (Music Of Black Origin) 2012 UnSung Regional Championship of Birmingham, as well as the 2012 Adidas “Are You In” music competition.
The Paradox stands as a comfortable representation of Banks’s young, green and uncomplicated early years of inspiration. Tracks like “You Don’t Even Call Me” and “Home” lay out improvisational soundtracks for slow casual afternoons overshadowed by thoughts of an absent loved one. Other songs like “Unknown” and “Silver Lining” give way to a stern tug on the heartstrings while a sobering piano brings the listeners heart rate down to promote conscious consideration and care during Banks’s time of perturbation. The only song that strays from those generalized motifs is “Monster”, arguably serving as the most predictive indication of his future work. “Monster” uses a much more stimulating percussive approach with drum patterns that sound almost tribal, while also utilizing the piano as a lingering cliffhanger to put the listener on edge until the chorus opens the energetic flood gates.
After remaining unsigned or with small indie labels for years, 2017 saw Banks release a new EP The Boy Who Cried Freedom, ironically named as such after being signed to a new label Interscope Records in October of 2016. The new label’s presence was palpable, with significantly modern electronic and provocative undertones that were meant to attract fresh faces to an artist that arguably withheld mass amounts of potential in quasi-pop markets. Those added flavors by no means hurt Banks’s in manufacturing new music…it just seems that his life brought him to a crossroads where he took a progressive turn towards a more crowded path.
Favorite Tracks: You Don’t Even Call Me, Monster, Home, Silver Lining, Unknown