When an artist releases a sophomore studio album after having such a strong debut I get a little nervous. What if their sound is different, what if their lyrical content isn’t as strong and what if the production is messy and rushed. This is constantly the case for a lot of new artists after they have a successful debut album because the record companies rush to retain the hype. It’s been 2 years since Banks graced the airwaves with “Goddess” and made you feel emotional and vulnerable with her captivating tracks. With the release of “The Altar” I was unsure if she would succeed in re-creating these emotions but she’s gone darker, moodier and created an all round stronger record. Yes, I’m aware that’s a big call to make but she’s gone IN on this record, oozing confidence and unravelling vulnerability.
This record was created for the live stage and will transform her performances with new depth and power. She commands your attention with the opening tracks “Gemini Feed” and “Fuck With Myself” proclaiming “And to think you would get me to the altar like I’d follow you around like a dog that needs water”. She’s going bold and isn’t afraid to let you know what she REALLY thinks. The beats are dark, heavy and is borderline inspired by RNB production while still giving you indie-pop vocals and hooks. Continuing this newly defined sound “This is Not About Us”, “Judas”, “Weaker Girl” give you emotional and independence while Trainwreck” spits fire with a experimental half rap delivery. The albums true standout is the sleek pop front runner “Lovesick”. With a oozing chorus and seductive vocal delivery this song will be instantly stuck in your head. “Cause I’m lovesick and I ain’t even ashamed. And I’m hard up for some time in your sheets. Would you be down to spend all your time with me? Cause I’m lovesick”. She still has the intimate moments that tackle the vulernabilites we all have like “Mind Games”, “Mother Earth” and “To The Hilt”. However towards the end of the album she loses her magic with “Haunt” and “Poltergeist” which could have been left off for maximum impact. As a whole though “The Altar” impresses with it’s unique strength and growth from the debut. She’s taken her already developed sound and layered textures with a new found confidence in not only her vocals but her lyrics as well making this a must listen.