EP REVIEW: Kota Banks – Sweet & The Spice

Everyone’s isolation experience has been different. Some have been creatively inspired, while others have taken time to look after themselves and step away from everything. There is no wrong way to have approached this situation and it’s important to note that.

But Kota Banks has been one of the creatively charged souls who has been working away on experimental new sounds and has been excitingly sharing her new creations through a string of singles. Collating them together for the aptly titled ‘Sweet & The Spice’ EP, this diverse collection of song hears her giving you a variety of sounds, feelings and moods. It’s not meant to be a cohesive body of work, instead it’s meant to embrace the chaotic energy that 2020 has delivered. 

Opening with the trap meets hip-hop inspired ‘Snip Snip’, she immediately grabs your attention with this hype-as-fuck empowerment track that sounds like nothing she’s ever done before. But at the same time it’s classic Kota because it’s so confidently charged and euphorically playful. 

Providing a jarring transition, ‘Never Sleep’ pitches her vocals in a dreamy dance sonic that almost embodies a bit of a dancehall attribute. And immediately you will find yourself singing along to the ridiculously catchy “that’s hot, that’s hot” melody from the hook. This is a song that is going to really come to life in her future live shows. 

At it’s foundations, ’Let U Leave’ is also a classic Kota Banks song with it’s experimental layering of production with DIY beats and smooth pop melodies. Usually she brings the party with a hyped energy on top of all this, however this time she has mellowed it out to give you raw vulnerability. 

Channeling the DIY attributes of Charli XCX’s recent album ‘how i’m feeling now’ and Kim Petras’ ‘Clarity’ project, she hits you right in the emotions with this self-aware moment full of reflection. 

She then mixes it up one last time with the sensually charged ‘Yes’, which is the only previously unreleased track on this collection. Embracing her love for pop music, she goes full dreamy pop on the production and gives us pure early 2000’s nostalgia. 

The loved up storyline hears her embracing falling head over heels for someone and not being afraid of the emotions that follow. “I’ll admit it that I’m a mess, I’m a little obsessed with you. Lying on your chest, can’t get no rest with you. I should say no but I can only say yes, yes to you”. 

Kota Banks has always been known to deliver big energy and a whole lot of attitude, but she’s also a lot more than just that, and this EP showcases that. It’s a very fun and experimental collection that is a time capsule of the past few months in her life and the creative drip that she’s currently on.