I have been eagerly awaiting a debut album from Jacob Banks since my first encounter with him in February of 2017. I was at Barboza, a small underground venue in Seattle, to see Swedish pop artist, LÉON. I had never heard of the London-based artist before and, honestly, was not expecting much. I was casually scrolling through my phone when I heard him. He opened with “Chainsmoking” the same song his debut Album, Village, begins with. What an epic introduction. My phone was forgotten and I was hooked.
While taking notes during my initial listen of Village, certain words came to mind repeatedly: heartbreaking, wrenching, haunting, powerful. This man makes you feel things. Through his poetic lyrics, Jacob Banks found a way to give his pain rhythm. Village deserves of the description of hurts so good.
Each song is impactful and it is impossible to have favorites. Village is one of those albums that the more you listen to it the more you fall in love and every track becomes a favorite. This album has depth that it is rare in this era.
Some of my current highlights include: “Slow Up”, “Be Good To Me” and “Witness”. “Slow Up”, and its accompanying video, are powerful. It evokes the grief of watching children grow up and encounter the harsh realities of this world. This song hurts. I don’t know Mr. Banks’s intentions when writing it, but I cannot help but think of the systemic racism in America that prioritizes and protects the childhood of the privileged while ripping it from the hands of others.
“Be Good To Me” is a powerful duet with Seinabo Sey. It is absolutely haunting. It evokes the fearful hope of a new relationship as we being to open ourselves up to being vulnerable again. Truly beautiful.
Thankfully Village also has some songs that give us a break from all the pain. One is the playful “Prosecco” and the other is the sultry “Witness”. Turn the lights down, crank up “Witness” and ask your lover to dance. You will be swept back to the seductive days of Marvin Gaye.
This album is exactly what I am looking for from a modern soul record. Jacob Banks is able to convey genuine emotion with his smooth, yet guttural, voice. Jacob Banks is the embodiment of modern soul.
Check out the video for “Slow Up” featured on the debut album, Village, by Jacob Banks below and pick up the new album iTunes now.
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