The Victoria, BC four-piece—brothers Nelson and Morgan Bankes on vocals and guitar, lead guitarist Carson Cleaver, and drummer Gray Oxley—formed in a pool hall one Friday night in 2017. Less than a week later, they played their first gig. Delivering a dynamic set list ranging from Otis Redding to Talking Heads, the former high school classmates were overwhelmed by an undeniable musical chemistry. Within three days of the first show, they had written a handful of original songs, including an early version of “See Me Run,” the EP’s soulful, swelling closing track.
The result is In Waves, a six-track shot of dopamine spilling over with irresistibly catchy melodies, exhilarating vocals, and joyous indie-rock instrumentation. Produced and recorded by indie legend Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat, The Zolas, Mounties), the EP is the culmination of the band’s wide-ranging influences–from Elvis to The Strokes, Paul Simon to The Pixies—coming together in a way that defies sonic parallels, yet remains welcomingly familiar. The first release has the pretty grittiness of The Lumineers, the free-wheeling energy of the late-aughts indie bands, and the powerhouse belting of blues-rock contemporaries like Marcus King. Yet the sum of these parts is something fresh, exciting, and uniquely vibrant within the current sea of sleepy vocals and sedated guitar tones. The Bankes Brothers sound like the youthful high of a late-night romance and the blissful stagger home the next morning.
The honest simplicity of Bankes’ lyrics leaves space for the energetic melodies to pick us up and sweep us away, again and again and again. The EP’s title track just begs to be belted out, whether driving in your car or locked arm-in-arm with your best friend at one of the band’s electric live shows. A common theme running throughout In Waves is the universal coming-of-age moment when one is about to break free from the confines of childhood and step—or run—into the next phase of life. The debut begins and ends with The Bankes Brothers on the move – “Walkin’ to the Beat” and “See Me Run” – a fitting reflection of a band that is about to hit its stride.
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