Waves are a-makin’ on Brandon’s new EP.
At Majestic Journal, our ‘Fresh Sounds’ feature aims to showcase not just the latest tracks from our favorite up-and-coming artists, but the message behind the music. In our latest offering, we focus on LA-based singer-songwriter Brandon Banks and his debut EP “Tides.”
Tides have been changing for Brandon Banks since we last spoke to the 23 year singer-songwriter ahead of the release of his single “Autumn” last summer.
This October saw the drop of Banks’ debut EP “Tides,” an immersive and introspective look at youth, relationships, and societal entrapment in modern day America. As his view counts rack up and his diverse fan base continues to grow, we take a closer look at Brandon’s 7-track project and ask: What sets Brandon apart from other artists also on the cusp of breakthrough into R&B music?
With the video opening to the sound of crashing waves and sea breeze, one would expect a seaside vista as “Blue” comes into focus. Instead, we follow Brandon on a lone road walk to the sound of “WIMS,” the EP’s interlude (and anagram of SWIM) as he questions, “What is my soul worth?” in the opening line.
Banks’ “King Kong” T-shirt is a nod to a fallen icon; its representation of stereotypes, misunderstandings of character, and images of entrapment set the tone of the EP. Through director Kuba’s lens, “Blue” is an open and honest self-reflection, backed by delicate strings, that explores love and regret, and asks why we are often defined by preconceptions - regardless of who we really are.
“Moor,” “Tides”’ standout track, explores the challenges faced by young African-Americans growing up in a broken social system. With the track title referencing Shakespeare’s “Othello: the Moor of Venice” (and keeping with the EP’s aquatic theme), Banks describes a “trapped generation” and draws yet another 21st century parallel with a fictional character: the bard’s most noble and tragic heroes, incarcerated based on the color of his skin. Exploring inequality and juvenile injustice atop a surprise Frank Ocean-esque flow, “Moor” is an ode to the beauty of music as an escape and tool of expression, challenging the long-standing prejudice and disparity faced by young black men and women in America.
Against late-night lo-fi piano keys, “Tides” opens to an inaudible female voice over the phone — a prelude to Banks’ push-and-pull in lost love.
The eponymous track is as thought-provoking and introspective as it is somber — a shining call-to-arms for young artists to not be defined by the expectations of a genre and what sells, but to stay true to what they feel. And with this EP, Banks proves you don’t have to be another drop in the ocean.