**PIC Blur-endorsed Icelandic duo move from techno to post-punk on an itchy claustrophobic debut
Paul Banks – ‘Banks’
Interpol frontman is reinvigorated as a lone soldier
In 2010 Banks sounded curiously detached on ‘Interpol’, even by his own icy standards. But going it alone on ‘Banks’ he sounds revitalised. Inspired by an epiphany – “Right now, I truly give zero fucks what anyone has to say about me” – this is the 34-year-old at his most captivating in years.
Opener ‘The Base’ sets the pace, as its bass twang and cinematic electronics snake around a deep, free-flowing groove. Elsewhere, the spirit of Talk Talk looms large over ‘Lisbon’, while ‘Over My Shoulder’ displays Banks’ knack for knockout poignancy: “You only hold me like the canyon holds the stream”, he sings with a wounded rasp.
With the Julian Plenti alias with which he released 2009’s ‘…Is Skyscraper’ behind him, Banks’ debut under his own name sees him with nowhere to hide. No pillars of noise, no bandmates – and he’s burning all the brighter for it.
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