REVIEW: Banks & Steelz’ “Anything but Words”

An album by an unlikely duo: Interpol’s Paul Banks and RZA.

banks-and-steelz-anything-but-wordsBanks & Steelz, Anything but Words (Warner)

Collaborations between established rock and rap acts haven’t produced a lot of great LPs over the years. The novelty usually doesn’t last far beyond a breakout single (if there is one), but the emergence of Banks & Steelz (Interpol’s Paul Banks and Wu-Tang Clan alumnus RZA), launched back in 2011 as its own project and not a mere meeting of brands, at least suggests a certain commitment. The bulk of this album’s dozen tracks are solid, subtle tapestries of vocals, beats and abstracted instrumentation — the half dozen credited producers, including the two principals, pulled off a seamless series of exercises in atmosphere. A couple of their songs have a bit of a MOR ring to them, but overall this is an impressive debut by an unlikely duo. 7.5/10 Trial Track: “Wild Season” (Lorraine Carpenter)