BANKS’ sexy single ‘Gimme’ off her new album ‘III’ shows she’s a singer on the rise

It’s an absolutely erotic, hyper-racy club song that highlights the recording, announcing the return of an artist in control, even if some of her other new songs fall short.

SHARE BANKS’ sexy single ‘Gimme’ off her new album ‘III’ shows she’s a singer on the rise
“III”, the new release from BANKS.

“III”, the new release from BANKS.

Harvest Records

You could call BANKS’ first single in a few years steamy — but that description would fall way short. “Gimme” is absolutely erotic, an explicit, hyper-racy club song — maybe a sex club song? — that announces the return of an artist in complete control.

It’s the highlight of “III” (Harvest Records), BANKS’ third album and one that jackhammers into the dark, murky pop vein that other young women like Tove Lo, Meg Myers and Lorde also mine.

Born Jillian Banks, BANKS released her debut album “Goddess” in 2014, with the follow-up “The Altar” in 2016. Her songs have been featured on the HBO series “Girls” and fueled the opening act for The Weeknd.

BANKS — who’s coming to Chicago to play the Riviera Theatre Sept. 16 — co-wrote every track on “III,” collaborating with high-level producers including Buddy Ross (Frank Ocean) and BJ Burton (Bon Iver, Lizzo). It’s got highs but also lows, particularly when the production elements overwhelm BANKS’ warm and hypnotic vocals.

Besides “Gimme,” standout soungs include the sludgy gem “Contaminated” and the bright collaboration with Francis and the Lights’ “Look What You’re Doing to Me.”

BANKS’ fluttery vocal range is on glorious display in “Propaganda,” she’s playful in “Alaska,” and her voice is barely more than a whisper in the exquisite ballad “If We Were Made of Water.”

But “Hawaiian Mazes” is overcooked, “Sawzall” never really gels, and “Stroke” and “Godless” meander.

Anyone who ever was a dissatisfying lover to BANKS might want to pass on the album. She has very specific imagery — and a keen understanding of narcissists.

The album ends on a wistful note with “What About Love,” on which she sings softly over orchestral swells. “Maybe if we just rewind the tape? We could grow older.”

It’s so innocent and hopeful that she even adds the voice of her young niece. It’s then, as the wispy song flits away, that you realize how far you’ve come with this dynamite artist, who just a few songs before was urgently demanding “Gimme, gimme what I want.”

At her best, BANKS could well be what you want.

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