The amazing alto songstress, Naomi Banks from the U.K is set to release her sophomore EP titled Meeting Again, three years after her debut Déjà Vu was released to mild success in Europe, garnering her a spot on the coveted BBC 1 Radio playlist. While the world has gone through significant changes since her last release, Naomi sounds as prepared as ever to take on new audiences and evolve her sound beyond her comfort zone; jazz.
Lyrically, the project can be called a breakup album, Naomi flirts with the ideas of monogamy and selfishness throughout, only attempting new things that put her front and centre. She remains amicable and respectful while informing a host of ex-lovers and new ones about her recent mental state in the hopes of letting them down easily. The electronic elements that tinge the new project do it a world of wonder, creating an evolved sound that rivals the mainstream pop sounds of today exhibited by other pop practitioners in similar soundscapes. The eponymous lead single for the EP is a refreshing blend of her distinct blend of R&B and electronic synths that creates a compelling intro to the short (in length) but expansive (in range) EP. The latest single to be released off the tape is titled Same Room and the excellently paced pop record highlights her elite songwriting abilities the best on the project as she finds multiple ways to tell a lover off. Lines like “when the shadow creeps over me, that I need you, then my mind plays tricks cause I see you in the same room” elicit a need to be left alone without relying on the cliché lyricism of the usual crop of breakup songs we are accustomed to.
On Moving On she dives straight into similar themes as she claims to bear no resentment for her former lover, however, she would prefer to be allowed to move on in peace. On Alright she maintains a similar stance but this time she is more apologetic to a new lover who she can tell will not be around forever as she encourages him to maximise their time together for both their sakes.
The interlude and outro serve their exact purposes of transitioning the project to its second half and seeing it out respectively without bogging it down, on the latter she utilizes a trilling string instrument against the backdrop of strong female backup vocals to close it out. Her unique take on the pop sound provides much-needed variety in a scene that inevitably copies whatever it considers being the hottest direction around. While many might struggle to replicate the exact conditions that she achieved on this record, the sound will likely find new voices through her influence, regardless of how famous she is, simply because of its originality. The specificity of her art direction also deserves to be highlighted; the oil painting album covers provide a refreshing contrast to the high definition, punched-up photographs synonymous with the genre.
While we await her full feature debut album, Moving On will serve as a solid stop-gap to display her many strengths and her minuscule weaknesses.
Listen to the project, OUT NOW!