Bank – The Hope Inside Your Sleep
Record Label: unsigned
Release Date: September 23, 2008
It’s hard to know what to do with Bank.
Bank is the next big thing. With tunes transitioning between rock, dance, alternative, and indie, The Hope Inside Your Sleep could easily throw down several singles and launch into the stratosphere of radio-friendly stardom. Album opener “Drop Drop” wastes no time establishing the band’s predisposition for pop via spacey riffs, thumping bass lines, and pep rally handclaps. This is TRL-god-rest-its-soul material, through and through. In a perfect, 360 deal sort of world, the title track would provide the ideal, piano-laced second single. Get out those lighters (cell phones) as we all wave our arms together inside the Honda Civic Tour pavilion. Hell, Bank have already made the Absolute 100. They’ve left their homes in Boise, Idaho – who knows where they’ll head from there?
Bank is a child that needs to be put in the corner. Although their instrumentation is swanky enough to bring to mind Nightmare of You, their lyrics reek of Plain White Ts. It’s a maddening combination that, in this case, speaks less to a lack of sincerity than to a lack of creative emphasis. Even the most obvious pop tracks whip around and offer some absolutely delicious melody arc or gang harmony that completely saves the music from imminent combustion. Lyrics aside, this is an exuberant album. But this isn’t Explosions in the Sky, this is Bank, and no amount of vocal excellence (which they are certainly blessed with) can gloss over sugary songs like “Get Together,” which trips through such poetic disasters as, “Hey now baby, hang out for a while/ I will take you to the place where you can smile” and “I haven’t held you for some time/ But your lips are always on my mind.”
Bank is addictive, in the most bewildering and beguiling manner. There’s no real reason that a song like “Friday Night,” a fairly straightforward ode to shows, parties, and carousing with friends, should be so damned enjoyable. There’s something captivating in the simplicity of the song’s chorus that cries “Maybe it’s wrong/ To feel so alive” over bursting riffs and pounding percussion. And then there’s “Goodbye NYC.” Millions of bands, trapped in that endless, sleepless cycle known as Touring, have written travelin’ tunes that namedrop the major stopping points along the road, and yet Bank’s entry doesn’t feel outmoded or world-weary. That’s probably because…
Bank is genuine. Songs about vehicles, with the notable exception of Piebald’s “King of Road,” are typically ticking time-bombs of terrible, but “Black VW” and its tight harmonies and infectious claps feels like a sunny trip through the sleepy Midwest. This doesn’t just sound like a song written by an unsigned band on the road, it is a song written by an unsigned band on the road. It might seem like an obvious statement, but in Bank’s friendly hands, the most basic concepts seem to take on new life. “Heartbreak” is similarly sculpted. It’s not a complicated story: heart break happens, but life goes on. The sheer candor of the track’s theme allows the songwriting to shine and become immediately approachable.
The Hope Inside Your Sleep glitters with potential at one moment, but then turns around to show its tarnished luster. So it’s hard to know what to do with Bank. Theirs is a road, however, that is wide open, and the smart money’s on the chance that their ability to craft enthusiastic, heartfelt hits will lead them to a much bigger stage than Boise, Idaho.
Nightmare of You meets Plain White T's. Haha good review man. With regard to the bad/shallow lyrics of this album, I really don't like it when bands use the word "baby" persistently in songs. My little pet peeve.