The problem with having once fronted a successful band is that any music you release in the future will always call up lazy comparisons.
It's a problem that is only compounded if you are Paul Banks, sometime Interpol frontman, now using his own name for his extraneous material. With his distinctive baritone and dispassionate delivery, Banks's voice is unmistakable whatever label you stick on it.
The set opens with Skyscraper, the title track to Banks's 2009 album from his Julian Plenti alter-ego. Although the tck-tck-tck of clattering drumsticks is familiar, musically the song is a beast far more complex and menacing than the posturing Interpol's fairly simple songs. With leaden bass and gentle cymbal stroke, a high-pitched haunted house of a riff tapped out on electric guitar and vocals kept to a minimum, the song sets the mood.Fun That We Have, from the same release, is more of the same – dark and ominous, the "fun" of the title sounds more like a threat than a reminisce.
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With a three-piece band behind him, Banks is not afraid to recreate the meaty wall of sound his previous efforts were known for. But while Interpol were, if not a party band, at least the soundtrack to a certain kind of hedonism, there's always something choppier and more claustrophobic behind the Banks band's axe-wielding. In the close-knit surroundings of a tightly-packed Tut's, 10 songs in and it's a little exhausting.
Banks has his tricks: spooky, spare lyrical sections; chug-chug-chug openings; disjointed, crunchy middle eights; epic endings. Sometimes they're even all at play in the same song. What he really needs, though, is something worth singing along to.