The frosty detachment that was Paul Banks’ trademark when he was the frontman of Interpol—the New York band whose sullen sound made them famous in the early aughts—has warmed over significantly on Banks, his intricate, enjoyable second solo offering, out Oct. 23.
Over the course of 10 tracks, Banks shows off impressive orchestration, sweet crooning, affecting belting and a charming disregard for the way that people expect him to make songs. Offerings like “Arise Awake” (see its video, below) feature prominent sampling, a meandering series of sounds and the sort of sensibility that one spots in rockers—like Brit-popper turned opera librettist Damon Albarn or any one of those multitaskers from The National—with grander projects on the horizon.
But it’s not all high-mindedness and concept on Banks. His lyrics remain heartfelt and sing-along ready, and on a number of tracks—“Over The Shoulder,” “No Mistakes”—he displays a rollicking intensity, a more mature version of what early Interpol became known for.
For anyone who’s been a fan of Paul Banks’ music, Banks is a refreshing reminder that he likes what he’s doing too, and he’s only getting better at it. And for those new to his work, his latest is a smart, exciting, melodic album that’s challenging—in a good way—yet fun.