June 8, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 50°F


Review: Interpol frontman delivers recognizable solo record

Paul Banks is at it again. While his day job, post-punk band Interpol, is taking a well-deserved break, Banks has taken his guitar and set out on his own. His latest creation is a solo full-length album succinctly titled “Banks.”

Prior to this release, Banks had employed the pseudonym Julian Plenti for his album “Julian Plenti Is …  Skyscraper.” As Julian Plenti, Banks’ musical experimentation pushed the limits of the established Interpol sound a bit too far and left many Interpol fans confused. But with “Banks,” he reels it in a bit to give his fans more to grasp and relate to.

With this album, Banks keeps the instrumentation closer to familiar territory in the form of rhythmic electric guitar strumming, darker tonality and forceful singing. However, he manages to lighten things up with acoustic guitar flair on “Lisbon” and “Arise, Awake.” This is one welcome element from the Julian Plenti era that managed to make the name change jump.

“I’ll Sue You” could pass as a B-side from Interpol’s album “Our Love to Admire.” Banks’ knack for the depressing shines through when he moans over slick grooves and a pitch-bending, distorted guitar. The track also gives listeners one of the album’s best and most menacing lyrics when Banks sings, “She looks so much better on me/ I’ll take a ride in those sheets.”

On this LP, Banks was able to pull back on the experimentation from his previous solo effort and allow listeners to enjoy a familiar aesthetic. The result is a highly enjoyable and diversified catalog.

Overall rating: 3 stars

Paul Banks, former lead singer of Interpol, released his solo album “Banks.”