Although Bryan Banks has a long pedigree of drumming for highly regarded bands, particularly Pennsylvania rockers Owen’s Grunge, sitting in on vacant local drum stools and even playing the percussion for more acoustic-based acts, there comes a time when you feel like striking out by yourself and working on your own, original music. And that is the story behind The Sudden Sounds of Urgency.
It is an album grounded in his proven solid yet melodic drumming, onto which he adds swathes of rhythmic guitars, and blends of supple and subtle six-string inclusions. Interestingly, he largely does without lead breaks and solos, in the conventional sense, and instead fills their place with all manner of melodic tones and textures, woven together into a wonderful, ever-shifting backdrop. In my mind, it is the difference between serving the song or serving the ego. Not for him the widdly-widdly, showboating riff-o-rama just for the sake of it, if there is a guitar line to be heard, it is exactly where it needs to be and does exactly what is required.
And there is a wealth of cool tunes to be found here. Further Away is a spikey-riffed, dark and coiling slice of goth meets grunge, all low-slung guitars and stygian gloom and Escape the Insanity is a slow-burning beast, rising up from acoustic soundscapes into truly epic heights. Understated troubadour to anthemic, stadium rocker in just over 4 minutes…deft work indeed.
The title track is a blend of twisted guitar lines and industrial-strength rhythms, emploring sentiment and metronomic time-keeping and Beautiful Disguise exists at that place where rock merges with rock ‘n’ roll; swagger meets swing, grunt dancing with groove. Nice!
Even for a full band, this album is quite an achievement, for a solo project, it’s a flippin’ masterpiece. Take note rockers looking to flock the ranks to to solo realms…this is how you do it.