Sounds You Need In Your Ears
Episode 11: Banks Arcade
Joshua O’Donnell // vocals
Harlan Allen Jones // bass
James Feekes // drums
Jason Meadows // guitar
Kenny Powerz // Synths & Sound Design
2020 has been a tough year so far for most of us, but 2019 certainly wasn’t smooth sailing either for metalcore band, Banks Arcade. If you’re silly enough to not have listened to them yet, think Northlane’s heavy guitar, meets Deftones’ atmospheric soundscapes, mixed with the moody RnB styling’s of The Weeknd’s album, Trilogy.
After making the move from New Zealand to Melbourne, they were reduced down to just two members (Josh and Jason) resulting in them having to pretty much start from scratch. Calling on friends to keep the band alive, they recruited Kenny, Harlan and James who all followed suit in the move to Melbourne.
I first came across Banks Arcade in 2018 when they released their debut EP, Endnote. I gravitated to track ‘Deadline’ as it gave me some Architects vibes and after listening to the EP in full, I was completely hooked. I remember playing it for my friends when we were drinking before a gig and they were super amped on them too. “Get these guys to Unify” was the outstanding agreement in between our drunken head banging.
Banks also wasted no time to jump on tours with some huge names. 2018 saw them play alongside Stray From the Path, Counterparts and Silverstein on their New Zealand shows. There’s plenty of bands have been playing and touring for years before being able to join bigger bands on the stage, but Banks definitely deserved that opportunity so early in their journey.
I remember hearing in 2019 that their singer had left the band and I was devastated, and sadly accepted that Endnote may really be the end note from Banks Arcade.
Then one of the best things to come out of 2020, was the drop of their sophomore EP, Fever Dreams. I included this one in my Top 7 Albums of 2020 list back in July (article here) and it still remains almost 3 months later. It honestly feels so ahead of its time, they’ve taken metal components we already know and love (breakdowns and chunky guitar, what else?), added layers of synths and sounds that are brand spanking new and combined them to make one fucking HUGE release.
‘Sick’ was the first single from the EP back in March and earned its rightful place in some of the biggest metal playlists on Spotify.
They then dropped ‘Drown’, which through the vocals and the guitar reminded me of Northlane. I remember thinking this track would reach a wider audience and surely would provide the band with a huge amount of new fans. Josh’s vocals are so captivating and they take full flight on this track, from soaring highs to emotional screams, it’s impossible to not be sucked in.
When they released Fever Dreams, track ‘Firework’ stood out to me most and is one of my all time favourite songs. The chorus feels like a firework itself, exploding into a mesmerising work of art.
I can imagine it wouldn’t be easy to turn a hip hop song into a heavy metal cover, but holy fuck did Banks do a stellar job. They dropped their version of ‘Roses’ by SAINt JHN in August and it’s one of my favourite heavy metal covers. They managed to still keep some hip hop and RnB sounding components while adding their own flavour to it through weighty guitar and auto tuned vocals.
Due to COVID-19 the boys did have to head back to New Zealand, but they’ve done anything but waste time while being there. They sold out their headline show, recorded their first full album and filmed 3 music videos in 3 days.
I am so fucking excited to see what comes next for Banks Arcade, they deserve nothing less then a sold out arena and god will I be front and centre when that day comes.
Written by Rhiannon Porter (@rrhiannonporter)