Release Date: Jul 12, 2019
Record label: Virgin EMI
Three years after her electronically robust sophomore outing, The Altar, and Banks has grown. On her aptly titled third set, III, she continues her upward trajectory with improved vocals and production value, presenting a wiser version of herself with more mature lyrics focused on longing, love, and loss, and fresh, expansive atmospherics that toy with her usual alt-R&B stylings. There's a refreshed spirit coursing through III that transforms her typically chilly and hypnotic aura into something grander.
L.A. native Jillian Banks has created another supremely intriguing musical world; one filled with ear-snagging lyrics and quirky production flourishes Jillian Banks makes music that repays repeat listens. Sure, the L.A. native’s alt-R&B bops can be catchy - her most-streamed song, ‘Beggin For Thread’, almost sounds like something All Saints could have recorded.
The number three is prominent and recurrent within this record. This is Jillian Banks ' new chapter, and she has something to share with us all. Album opener "Till Now" is a punch to the gut - in a good way. "I saw you outside, wearing the shirt that I gave you to remember me by," Banks sings, immediately opening the record in a vulnerable space.
In 2013, Jillian Banks emerged as a poster girl for brooding, twilight-hours pop. She made all the right moves for an artist working in the burgeoning "alternative R&B" space: She committed to a monochromatic aesthetic, linked up with trendy collaborators, and commissioned Hype Machine-ready remixes. It worked, to an extent. Following a stint opening for the Weeknd, Banks became a relatively well-known name.
There was once a time when dark alt-pop, minimal beats and mysterious lyrics were it - a period which culminated in the rise of The Weeknd. A few took this sound and made it their own; fka Twigs, Lorde and TĀLĀ still enjoyed the trappings of ambiguity but took it to interesting places that felt personal. But for the most part it became a genre that people were jumping on simply because it seemed fashionable, churning out identikit veils.
BANKS is a formidable artist. Her creativity as an avant-pop singer merges with her vulnerability in a way that she's now mastered, making music that's as provocative as it is heart breaking (at times) - and she's maintained this with her latest album. The opening track, 'Till Now', is a declaration of sorts ("And you been messin' me around 'till now") and sets the tone for how the rest of the album will unfold, while 'Gimme' - the album's first single - is electrifying with its synth-heavy sound and futuristic, electronic production.