You'd be hard-pressed to find a cooler sound this summer than Banks.

She made many fans two years ago with Goddess. Now, the California 28-year-old's second album The Altar has already impressed with singles Gemini Feed and F*** With Myself, and fans of The Weeknd will recognise the same dark, urban vibe,along with profanity-laced songs about sex and relationships, of course.

Banks' voice has been described as dusky and compared to Aaliyah and Erykah Badu, but her versatility - sultry to sassy while singing and rapping - stands on its own.

The upbeat Trainwreck oozes attitude as does the badass Weaker Girl - "Ima need a bad motherf***** like me" - which tails out with strings melting into Mother Earth.


Trip hop electronica dominates the album, lush waves of synth wash over songs like Mind Games, but Mother Earth, with fragile Rihanna-like vocals, is a beautiful, acoustic guitar-driven and emotional track, Banks almost seemingly breaking down as violins soar over deep cello.

Break-up song To The Hilt is another tearjerker, before the album closes with a bang - 27 Hours laying on the heavy Inception horn while Banks tries to convince her lover she's not the one.

Yes, a relationship is not a happy place on The Altar, but that tension makes for a moody, compelling and brilliant album.

Rating: 4/5 stars