EP Review: Banners – Banners


banners_epReleased January 15th 2016

Words: Elena Katrina

Banners originally came to my attention early in 2015, then known as Raines, with his debut offering; Ghosts. Thankfully this track hasn’t been cast aside and has been re-shared as a Banners track and makes a very necessary appearance on his debut, and self-titled, EP. It sits smack bang in the middle of his two latest singles and two brand new tracks. It feels melancholy but warm, and, to me, like an old friend now. This is the song that won me over and made me threaten to buy him a pint and cry into it. It’s as arresting now as it was the very first time I heard it. Haunting vocals alongside a stunning string arrangement gives this a whole other dimension to against other tracks on the EP. I envisage this live with a grand piano and an orchestra and to see that happen would be something else.

Opening track, Shine A Light, was singer Mike Nelson’s first official track under his new moniker and is arguably the most poppy and anthemic of this here collection. It races along and holds no prisoners with it’s infectious melodies and no nonsense direction. It’s the most logical and fabulous choice for opening track; familiar to some and easily attention grabbing to people as yet unfamiliar with the track. Most recent track, Start A Riot , follows and has a softer edge to it; a warm and safe invitation to set foot into Banner’s mind and get swept away with the romanticism and sorrow of it all.

For me it’s difficult not to see this EP as a show of two hands; the familiar and the totally unknown. Thankfully, as expected, the newer tracks don’t disappoint. Gold Dust has a more rockier, punchier vibe going on – which actually really suits him. I don’t think I’d have ever said this when I first heard Ghosts. It’s got potential to give Shine A Light a run for its money in the anthemic track competition I’ve just created.

Final Track, Back When We Had Nothing, manages to combine elements of all of the previous tracks; change in pace hitting up from slow and emotional, fierce and powerful and driving, while still keeping a strong sentimental edge. Something, which, when sung with such beauty and sincerity is what makes Banners one of our not quite best kept secrets.

As an emerging artist Banners has set the bar excruciatingly high not only for others but also for himself. I don’t doubt he has a tidy stash of equally magnificent tracks up his sleeve, but this has to be one of the most exceptional debut EPs I’ve heard in quite some time. I don’t have a hat to eat but if I did I would offer to eat it if this guy isn’t making serious waves by the end of the year – and with the backing of his new label – Island, I think it’s probably a safe bet for me to say anyway, even if I did have a hat.

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  • About Popped Music

    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

    All articles written by Elena Katrina unless otherwise stated.

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