Stephen Banks is a young man in college who is just getting started with recording music. His EP Leftovers is a complete DIY effort that is about demo quality and at very least showcases some of his talent as a songwriter.
I do hope to hear something more professional sounding in the future to reach his potential but thought it builds a good foundation. He sounds a bit like Stephen Malkmus. He also sounds young. The music is fairly general sounding acoustic indie rock. I wouldn't say he has any kind of signature sound at this point.
He opens with “What To Expect” which slowly unravels. A simple picking pattern is layered with a reverb-laced lead guitar. It sounds good despite the digital distortion which surfaces in the mix. The drums sounded really crisp compared to the rest of the instrumentation which felt a bit unnatural.
It’s a dramatic first three minutes of music that almost veers towards post-rock at times. The song transitions to almost a completely different sounding vibe when he starts singing with a couple of strummed chords. As the song progresses there are so many layers which were nice to hear but the energy stays stagnant.
“Hope You're Fine” has a really different vibe. The guitar playing was impressive on this song and had a rustic feel to it during the verse. Once the distorted guitars come in there is a good amount of energy. The chorus felt like indie rock 101 in the essence of early Pavement, revolving around a couple of major and minor chords.
Up next is the slower moving title track which lies somewhere behind Weezer and Pavement while the closer “No More Crop Tops” also has some notable moments. “No More Crop Tops” is probably the catchiest song and stuck out to me most upon first listen.
Banks still has a long way to go to compete with some of the best artists out there today but he certainly shows some potential. I’d like to see him dig more into a style that defines his sound and to think a little more outside of the box as to where the songs can go. Overall, this is a solid start and I hope to hear more from him soon.
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