Banks Arcade – Future Lovers
Released: July 29, 2022
Joshua O’Donnell // Vocals/Guitars
Jason Meadows // Guitar
Harlan Allen-Jones // Bass
James Feekes // Drums
It’s easy to become disenfranchised by heavy music sometimes, especially in Aus. No shade (ok, perhaps some shade), but it often feels like it’s male metalcore band after metalcore band that are all quite similar in sound and vibe. And look, that’s fiiiiinneee, but when you and your bros are chilling and think ”’we should start a band”, maybe aim to be a bit different? Find a more unique sound, do something out of the box. Sorry, that ended up sassier than I meant.
This is all to say that Banks Arcade are a breath of fresh air. They are part of the new generation of Aussie (yeah, yeah, I know they are from NZ, but they are ours now, like Pavlova and Mel Gibson – sorry, I don’t make the rules) bands that are shaking up the heavy scene and bringing something a bit different to the table. Let’s get into their new album Future Lovers.
We start with the title track, ‘Future Lovers’, an ambient, synthy intro with soulful vocals and gorgeous piano. You can tell from this one-minute and thirty-second track that you are in for something different with this album. ‘Freaks’ takes the same musical themes and builds on them with incredible heavier instruments. Vocalist Joshua O’Donnell uses an excellent rap/heavy vocals/clean vocals hybrid in many songs, and we hear this first in ‘Freaks’. This song has such a cool, dark vibe.
The pace picks up with ‘Fake Your Death’, which is one (of many) highlights on the album. It has dancey verses, a fun chorus that will have the crowd singing and a fantastic breakdown. The bass from Harlan Allan-Jones in the breakdown is so great! I can’t wait to dance to this one live.
From one album fave to another – ‘Smile’ starts with great guitar riffs from Jason Meadows and Joshua and has fantastic bass yet again. The chorus of this song is so catchy, and there are incredible guitar solos throughout, including a huge shredder at the end. I also like a song that says “no one wants to die” following a song that says “Fake your death.”
Things slow back down with ‘Ether’ which is all electronic, has no guitars and is full of distorted vocals. Metalcore purists may not necessarily be keen on this part of the band, but it’s all part of what Banks Arcade is, and I think it still fits well.
My other absolute fave song, ‘Spark’ is up next, and this song is one the most traditionally ‘normal’ heavy music style song you will get on this album. Starting with a warmer-toned guitar riff, it leads into a wall of instruments, a quieter verse, and soaring vocals in the chorus. James Feeks’ drums are incredible on this song – they support the verses well and crash into the choruses.
We’re back into electronic land with ‘Be Someone’, but the guitars and bass kick in part way through this time. The guitar tone in this song is incredible – it reminds me of the mid 2000s. ‘Used’ is up next and reminds me of the kind of English rap/heavy style bands like Enter Shikari use. This song starts with a different sound and is super fun and boppy.
I don’t know if it’s my ADHD and social media having broken my brain but one thing I am going to say about this album is that there are quite a few songs on it. Honestly, I struggle a bit with longer albums. It’s not at all that the songs from here on out aren’t also awesome and worth a listen; I’ve just run out of words for them – no thoughts, just enjoys.
The final track, ‘Wine’ starts with pretty guitars and melodic vocals. This song is so lovely and has such a different feel from the rest of the album – it kind of feels like the vocals of someone fairly poppish you’d see at Splendour with Slowly Slowly instruments and heavier Banks Arcade moments sprinkled in. A nice way to finish out the album.
Future Lovers is an album that takes a lot of different influences and ideas – some that you wouldn’t even think would go together – and somehow blends them cohesively. Whether they are doing all electronic or leaning more into metalcore – Banks Arcade manage to make all elements their sound. Fair, there will be some people who aren’t into some of it, but I bloody love it, and I love bands that are pushing the envelope of what it means to be a heavy band and make heavy music. Banks Arcade are one of the bands at the forefront of what we will see happening more and more in heavy music, and I am here for it.
Banks Arcade – Future Lovers tracklisting:
1. Future Lovers
3. Fake Your Death
7. Be Someone
9. System Failed
11. Don’t Start
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