The last couple of years have been particularly epic for indie rock players of all stripes and backgrounds, and now in 2023, Christopher Banks has just delivered what could be one of the best underground offerings I’ve personally come across in the genre throughout this fresh new season. Titled Anxious Attachment, the deceptively simple nine-track LP wanders through a litany of subjects only to bring us back to the same theme time and time again; self-exploration. Banks searches for himself but ends up finding a sound that is truly his and his alone in Anxious Attachment, and listeners like you and I reap the rewards of his efforts.
“Audrey,” “The Magician,” and “Lateral Romance” see the instrumentation doing as much of the poetic heavy-lifting as the lyrics – if not a touch more – and for me, they embody the duality of Banks’ songwriting style better than any other songs here. There’s a multidimensionality to his talent that immediately sets his melodies apart from the rest, but beyond the sway of the drums or the strum of the guitars, his statements tend to reflect the tone of the music as well as they do his emotional presence in any composition on the record. He’s not a selfish arranger, and just taking a quick look at the compositional specs here will reflect as much.
I like the moderate polish on “Angry Letter,” and though the track is one of my personal favorites from Anxious Attachment, it gets an additional aesthetical boost through its radio-style production quality that puts it in a higher frame for me. The lyrical imagery emphasizes the realism influence in Christopher Banks’ sound, but the music itself remains the chief point of interest even amid the cosmetic climax. Some might accuse him of overthinking a relatively simple concept, but I think this artist’s attention to detail is what makes him a winner among his peers.
Despite the commonalities with old-school classic rock in the songs “Wherever You Are,” “Lateral Romance,” “Coming Up for Air,” and “The Window,” there’s nothing in Anxious Attachment that I would qualify as being a literal throwback. Banks is too personal with his words, and more specifically, with the means by which he sews them into the fabric of the melodies, for this to be the case. Anything retro about this record is merely an instance of the artist wearing his influences on his sleeve, which is important to note when taking into account just how many of his contemporaries are recycling in the recording studio these days.
If this is just a sample of what Christopher Banks is bringing to the table as a solo artist in this ever-changing era for rock, I think he’s going to find himself quite welcome in indie circles that have been missing someone of his caliber in the genre for far too long now. Anxious Attachment is a terrific meet and greet captured across nine nuanced examples of classic rock moxie, and while it’s not the only underground offering worth checking out this March, it’s become one of my go-to listens for left-of-the-dial musical might.