Having built an illustrious profile already, California-born Banks is known for her dramatic R&B sound, which is most commonly compared to tour mate The Weeknd (an artist she has proceeded to eclipse in terms of quality). Her debut Goddess leaves no doubt of her abilities, and establishes confidence that Banks has invented a new blueprint that other vocalist are sure to follow in 2015.
Despite a fourteen song-strong tracklisting, only five of the songs on Goddess are unheard, the rest are either promotional singles or drawn from her London and Fall Over EPs, meaning that the most surprising thing about Goddess is that there is little left over to surprise. However, ‘Beggin For Thread’ continues to boast one of the years’ most thrilling hooks, ‘Drowning’ is still the same bitter tale of being suffocated by a relationship and ‘This Is What It Feels’ remains as a dramatic fusion of pulsating synths with ominous vocals. Goddess doesn’t reveal much that we didn’t already know about Banks, but instead serves as a reminder of her most accomplished songwriting thus far.
However, it’s the tender moments that take us into newer territory for Banks. ‘Under The Table’ sees her pleading “I’m tired of waiting for permission to love” with a knock-out punch of vocalised distress, while the intimate piano ballad ‘Should Know Where I’m Coming From’ proves Banks can survive in a stark, emotional landscape.
Producers of various calibres appear to assist Banks, from equally shadowy producer Sohn (‘Alibi’, ‘Waiting Game’), to club bothering house producer Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (‘Fuck Em Only We Know’, ‘Warm Water’). Despite the numerous hands on this album, everyone is drafted into her world, with no jarring changes that prevent Goddess from being the multi-dimensional and brilliantly consistent album it is.
Goddess ends up being an essential listen for anybody who hasn’t yet been drawn into the world of Jillian Banks, while previous fans will take delight as it reaffirms their belief in her abilities. There aren’t many clues given for the future of Banks, but this is part of the continued mystique that will always make her intriguing.