‘For My Friends’ is Jacob Banks’ first significant release since his 2018 hit debut album ‘Village’.
The EP, released earlier this week, presents the listener with an insight into Banks’ current state of mind and emotion, assuming itself as a creative output in where he explores the spirit stirred in himself by the recent Black Lives Matter movement and overcoming the restrictions the pandemic has presented. Offering tracks exploring love and loss, the EP once again pays tribute to Banks’ renowned and celebrated versatility.
With its politically charged lead track ‘Parade’, ‘For My Friends’ demonstrates political and social awareness juxtaposed with an ensemble of laid back vibes, as demonstrated on the final track ‘Rizla’, which runs with a funky bass line throughout, and a nod of the hat to Michael Jackson. With themes exploring escapism and a love lost, the track is a stand out on the EP. In ‘Stranger’, parallels between Banks and Bon Iver come to mind, with beautifully crafted lyrics echoed throughout, it’s a song to lose yourself in.
With a running time of twenty-five minutes, the EP is not only a statement to Banks’ musical elasticity, but also a window into his personal experiences of the past twelve months; equipping the social challenges presented in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death, and creatively finding a way to utilise and overcome the isolation imposed by the pandemic.
Speaking with Metro, Banks stated in relation to the lead track ‘Parade’: ‘That song came about after I went to a march for BLM in London. I was really happy to feel a sense of camaraderie and togetherness and all that good stuff, but I felt disappointed that this is how we have to spend our days, across the board for any group of people who are disenfranchised, anyone who feels unseen.’
The eight track project, produced during the pandemic, was done remotely with his longtime collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Sillkey.
‘I like to make bodies of work to commemorate a time of my life and I am glad that I have this body of work to remember time in the pandemic, when all we had was each other.’
Chronicling a chapter of life during a time none of us will forget in haste, ‘For My Friends’ is another touch stone in the blossoming career of Jacob Banks
Words: Benedict Shirley