Liverpool’s Banners has done the rarest of things – ridden the hype train and then bettered it, Getintothis’ Patrick Clarke explores the North West’s next big thing.
Formerly known as Raines, Liverpool-bred Banners has been enjoying one hell of a trajectory this year. Appearing under his earlier pseudonym he released Ghosts early on in 2015, a piano-pop ballad that, though undeniably affecting, had that crucial eye on mass appeal.
Deservedly, the Soundcloud hype train saw the tune explode; currently standing at 255,000 plays, gushing comments rolled in from the fragile horde left blubbering in the wake of his understatedly potent and (whisper it) Coldplay-esque ear for big, emotive pop.
Yet that’s a familiar story, and the list of one-hit Soundcloud wonders stretches well into the internet’s equivalent of the bargain bin. When looking at artists with similar early fortunes, that one finely crafted belter is almost always followed by a mediocre follow-up with a similarly middling play-count, until slow, protracted, slightly nauseating decline into irrelevance.
It’s like the millennial version of second-album syndrome, only the flashes of fame are far more bright and brief, yet what really sets Banners apart is that not only did his next outing, Shine a Light, now under his current name, live up to those monumental standards, it bettered them by quite some distance.
Not only does it top that first play count by some extra 200,000, beyond the statistics it’s a massive step-up on purely musical grounds. No longer can Banners be accused of mere Martin/Garvey copycatting, the new track boasting an injection of enormous, sweeping rock guitars, in turn lending his voice a new dynamism, a genuine potency beyond the croon.
The track glistens with texture, still imbued with a hearty core of mainstream pop, but lent a more credible edge with which to show off the extent of his songwriting capabilities, which, by the way, are monumentally impressive.
Island Records are among the hundreds of thousands to hear his potential, and more still will experience him at SXSW next year. Banners is most certainly destined for the big time, and on the strength of just two pop songs, he’s already proved he deserves it.