Paul Banks – ‘Banks’

Interpol frontman is reinvigorated as a lone soldier

Paul Banks
Photo: Paul Banks
  • Release Date 22 Oct, 2012
  • Producer Peter Katis
  • Record Label Matador
  • Fact This is the first time Paul Banks has used his own name, his previous solo material was released under the moniker Julian Plenti
8 / 10
One of these days they’ll destroy this whole fucking town”, warns Interpol frontman Paul Banks on ‘No Mistakes’, the twisted, ’80s-tainted epic that is at the heart of his second solo album. There was a time when the New Yorkers seemed that powerful, a force of nature capable of tearing up towns and cities on their way to Radiohead status. But since the band’s debut, 2002’s ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’, they’ve done exactly the opposite of what the title told them, and the mood for the three albums that followed was as dark as a pair of cheap DIY-store patio lanterns.

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.

Al Horner

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