Lies About The War is a powerful Soul album with a classic vocal style mixed with modern production and instrumentation to create an album that is impossible not to enjoy.
Score: 8 / 10
10 tracks, 35 minutes of some of the greatest traditional male vocals I have heard in years. Mixed in with some beautiful song writing and lyricism this album shows that Soul is still just as impactful now as it ever has been. Although I do have some questions, as a whole this is a really enjoyable album that you can just sit back and enjoy from start to finish.
There is nowhere else to start other than Jacob Banks' incredible voice. Honestly it is unlike anything I have heard in quite some time. From gravelly blues lows through to intense falsetto Jacob covers a large range of not only notes but styles. Lies About The War jumps between blues, gospel, soul, folk and even hip hop without really missing a beat...apart from maybe that last one.
From the moment I heard his voice I was hooked, at the time I was doing a casual listen walking through town seeing what I might want to review and it instantly grabbed me. I am a sucker for powerful vocals that really drive through a good sound system to totally take over whatever I am doing and draw my attention in.
Going through the album it is clear that the one clear highlight is the vocals followed up by the song writing. Every song has its own unique signature, with it's own flavour of traditional or not so traditional ideas behind it. Sadly it does seem like the ideas run a little dry after track 7.
Everything before that stands as a very solid release, with a range of styles, great performances, different but gelling well together to a singular release. Tracks 8 (Boom) ,9 (Coolin), and 10 (Here lies the Man That Never Changed) all feel like filler added in rather than adding anything to the album.
Boom especially so as it just doesn't sound like a Jacob Banks song, at least not in the context of the rest of the album. It is a good song still, but definitely more of a non album single than something I wanted to hear here.
Before that you have some absolutely incredible tracks. By Design, Just When I Thought, Our Song, and Parachute being some of my personal favourites during my listens. Aim For My Head, Won't Turn Back and Coming Through are also all great tracks but they for me were just one step below those main four that grabbed my attention.
I do have one other complaint and it comes in the production and some of the stylistic choices made. During the album (especially in Won't Turn Back) there is strong use of synthetic vinyl clicks and I think tape saturation which is going a bit too far into the red at times. I was worried at one point my soundcard was dying as I didn't expect that due to the mixture of old school song writing and modern synthesis. I would also say the synths can be a bit too much at times but that could just by audio setup.
I know I probably spent far too long on the negative aspects of this review but make no mistake about it this is an amazing release and a voice that must continue to be heard.
Created with love by Ben Greener