Single Review: BANNERS - 'Start A Riot'

BANNERS, (formerly known as RAINES) introduced himself at the beginning of the year with 'Ghosts', a relatively sparse offering that revealed wonderfully textured vocals, a nod towards Coldplay in its lyricism and emotion, and a classic pop structure in its delicate piano notes and melodies. 'Shine A Light' followed in a more elated fashion juggling another sparse piano-led introduction, choral echoes, an an exceptional falsetto, before exploding into an anthemic cinematic pop climax.

Today, ballad-esque 'Start A Riot' marks the third track to be unveiled from the Liverpudlian's upcoming debut self-titled 5-song EP.  Arguably, this is the strongest, and most polished we have seen BANNERS and his production so far. There's a lot of pop snobs out there. People who turn their nose up at the idea of melodic pop or a catchy tune. People who refuse to continue listening to anything they once liked, as soon as it starts charting or makes its way into mainstream listening.

There's also a lot of people out there who do all those things, but who change their own tune as soon as someone like BANNERS comes along and showcases their talent through tracks like 'Start A Riot'. I've often wondered the reasoning for this. Why the turn around? For me, it always comes back to this. England (where we are based) has such a rich heritage of  producing fantastic songwriters, especially of the pop variety (as well as very successful niche acts who are incredible at what they do, but only appeal to certain demographics and rattle other peoples cages). The harsh truth is, if you've got everything else down, but are writing music with meaningless lyrics, or words that people can't really relate to. It doesn't matter what you try and pull out of the bag next. People don't want to hear it. They don't want to like you.

Fortunately, BANNERS is a musician who reveals such a strong sense of identity through his words that  you can't help but be reeled in through his lyricism. He manages to write about human emotions that matter, naturally, without them becoming cheesy or hyped.  It's hard to pigeon hole his commercial and mainstream appeal because there's a whole lot going on there that adds a huge vastness to the type of audience he will grow more and more appealing to.

 We've heard the shivering highs to his falsetto that rivals the likes of Chris Martin in  'Ghosts'. We've heard the ethereal, rural influences that rivals Bon Iver in 'Shine A Light'  and now BANNERS has revealed a more contemporary, grounded side to himself with 'Start a Riot'. This is a track that will sit nicely on your playlist alongside the likes of The Fray and The Script.

Words of Karla Harris

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Purchase/Stream “Start A Riot”: iTunes || Amazon || Google Play