Though it echoes tones of Portishead, Morcheeba, and Massive Attack, the debut collection from Banks never quite catches up to any of those predecessors’ efforts. There’s a good bit of style — and another bit of substance — in Goddess, but it has, unfortunately, an uneven application.
The first few tracks showcase the thinner, warbled side of Banks’ voice, sometimes against a backdrop of almost dissonant ambient vocals. The poetic “Waiting Game” starts out as a languid and captivating effort… until a heavy, rumbling synth comes in and dips down to frequencies which cause physical discomfort to, at least, some listeners. Further in, cuts like “Brain” and “Drowning” offer up a decent enough downtempo, background listen, but there’s nothing to hold on to once the music ends — no memorable melodies or indelible grooves demanding to be listened to on repeat. There’s just a whole lot of being different for the sake of being different and that does not, generally, mean better… or even good.
This article originally appeared in Curve.