Interpol frontman Paul Banks teamed up with Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA to create Banks and Steelz, a melding of rock and rap. The meeting of the two genres can be a beautiful place (see: Rage Against The Machine, Aerosmith/Run-DMC), but the only thing Anything But Words spits is missed opportunities.
Banks’ sultry New Yorker drawl sounds strained against RZA’s effortless verse. And while there’s clever wordplay on Giant, it takes a turn for the ludicrous on Ana Electronic: “Love is a house, and you got the cheese”.
With its promising Latin inflection, Ghostface Killah’s guest appearance, and atmospheric music video, Love + War tries to be edgy, but ends up repetitive and bland. But Banks applies his instinct for a subtle hook on Speedway Sonora, with its romantic sweeping chorus over skittish beats and sparse piano.
The title tracks steps it down a notch with muted kalimba melodies and (slightly) calmer delivery from the always-pumped RZA. The slow-building track slowly wins you over with a sumptuous chorus and interplay between electronic and traditional instruments.
Despite the strong tracks, it’s really hard to fall for this confusing and at times tedious record.
Contains strong language