Interscope Records · November 2, 2018
Village’s soul-influenced and vocal-powered R&B impresses with distinct and beautifully orchestrated rhythms and skillful lyrical ability.
This album is filled with notable high points, speaking to the quality of this album. It starts with harmonic vocals and driving synthesizers on “Chainsmoking.” These passionate lyrics convey the suffocation of affection and compliment the pulsing beats. “Love Ain’t Enough” builds on this positive momentum, featuring powerful and concussive rhythms. The rest of the album ebbs and flows before its musical and thematic zenith, “Unknown (To You).” This single was featured on Banks’s previous self-released mixtape before the album was written in 2018, but its assimilation in the tracklisting is entirely complimentary to the rest of the piece. In particular, the chorus’s heart-wrenching delivery truly elevates the song and album as a whole.
While the highs of this album make it one to remember, Banks has room to improve on a follow up. One could certainly make the argument that the album lost steam in the middle when compared to the rest. This was true on tracks such as “Kumbaya” and “Caroline,” but the narrative theme was still maintained throughout. While some tracks were overshadowed by the bolder and more unique bookends, this remains a minor criticism and the deeply personal and distinct sound captured by Banks makes this a debut to remember.
Jacob Banks’ music, even before this first full-length album, made a significant impact on pop culture. After the very impressive debut, Banks’ future is unequivocally bright. Especially prevalent on “Chainsmoking” and “Unknown (To You),” the impressive R&B is augmented by Banks’ powerful storytelling. While inconsistent at times, the album maintains momentum throughout and remains very compelling. Jacob Banks composed an impressive debut album and it’ll be interesting to see where his career goes from here. If you liked this album too, Banks will be at the Royale February 23rd.