Published May 30, 2014The setting could be ripped straight from a movie: relatively unknown DJ/producer submits demo to big-name record label. Label head swoons, immediately signs artist for three-album deal. And the big ending? Far from sight, at least at this point. Alex Banks' first LP, Illuminate, is on Monkeytown records (home to the likes of Mouse on Mars, Siriusmo and Modeselektor), so he's doing something right.
Illuminate defies expectation with its composition and execution, with its ability to elude the gaps and crevices of any one particular scene, instead revelling in the simple binding of elements to produce beautiful sounds. If the complexity and range of Illuminate doesn't smack immediately, the handful of tracks hosting the stunningly fragile vocals of Elizabeth Bernholz will. The album's first single, "All You Could Do," hits with fierce impact, Bernholz's vocals a perfect fit with the thick percussion and twinkling synths that build and fade to lithe acoustic guitar. This is a solid album more than capable of holding fans over until a second release. (Monkeytown)