Full-bodied albums are never easy to start or finish, but when listening to the new record Anxious Attachment by Christopher Banks, the entire process sounds rather simple and seamless. In songs like “Coming Up for Air,” Christopher Banks eases into his lyrics with a relaxed attitude that only grows stronger as he straddles the complex rhythm beneath the melodies in the track. His confidence is infectious and found throughout the entirety of this LP, as well as its most radio-ready performances in “For a Limited Time” and “Angry Letter,” and though it isn’t the catalyst for all of the cathartic moments we encounter here, it shapes the core identity of the music when we’re least expecting it to.
Emotion is everywhere we look and listen in Anxious Attachment, and in “The Window,” the aforementioned “Angry Letter,” and “Wherever You Are,” it seeps through the melodic underpinning in the instrumentation in ways that the vocal just can’t replicate all by itself. Banks uses the harmonies to authenticate his lyrics rather than the other way around, and instead of sounding super-experimental comes across as rather humble and unassumingly revolutionary in his actions. Are there instances in which he could be a little more to the point than he is? Sure, but these instances are so far and few in between that the gems in this tracklist overshadow any of the near-misses without fail. That’s something for any album’s content, let alone one from a newcomer to the spotlight.
There isn’t a lot of bass and drum indulgence in this LP, and yet the swing in “Audrey,” “For a Limited Time,” and “Lateral Romance” is irresistible to put it quite mildly. The backend of the mix might be lacking in weight, but the fact that Christopher Banks can compensate for this with little more than texture and tonality alone is rather telling of his depth as a songwriter and arranger. Rather than having to rely on the same schemes, bells, and whistles that some of his less-than-brilliant peers might just as soon embrace with open arms, he’s using the unfanciful weapons in his possession to wage war on the mainstream mundane with a muted ferocity I can’t wait to hear more of.
I didn’t know anything about Christopher Banks before getting ahold of his new album just this month, but I like how he’s introducing himself to the audience in Anxious Attachment. He’s got a lot of different directions and angles with which he can take this sound he’s developed for himself in this LP, but I’m hoping he continues to dabble in the black-and-white surrealism of classic rock as he has in songs like “The Magician” and “Coming Up for Air.” This is one singer/songwriter with more going for him than most of his closest rivals on the major labels can brag over at the moment, and this all-new effort is one I’d recommend to listeners around the country this season if for no other reason than to get a taste of what he’s packing at the moment as both a melodic vocalist and a rather curious and talented lyricist.