Sensitivity and authenticity is at the heart of everything Communion signees Banfi do. Grateful for being surrounded “by people who are in it for the long game, who understand that the songs take time to write and the band takes time to grow”, the trio have spent the past few years carefully developing a body of work that is totally true to their vision. At the time of speaking to them, the band had spent the morning in meetings at the label sorting out more recording time; a clear sign of the support and momentum behind the project.
Their euphoric debut single ‘This Is Where We Part’ found its way into the world back in 2015, the band setting their stall of sweeping, euphoric pop and glistening harmonies, tinged with an unmistakable sadness. The track also marked a parting from Joe Banfi’s solo roots, instead pursuing a fuller, richer sound, courtesy of band-mates Aaron Graham and Chris McCuaig. Together, Banfi’s “happy, sad and hopeful” music is full of feeling, contemplation, and of life’s toughest lessons. Three years on from their first venture, the band are fresh off the back of a UK and European tour and the release of their new EP, ‘The Jack Powell EP’.
“It always takes time I think”, muses Banfi. “When we put ‘Where We Part’ out we weren’t expecting to like be on Spotify new releases or be in the charts or blow up overnight. I think we knew it was gonna be a lot of hard work, we’ve always been trying to put the hard work in, so hopefully its paying off”.
The new EP is their most emotionally poignant work to date, nostalgic and vividly resonant of times gone by. This maturation was a natural one, they say of the slower, more melancholic sound of the new tracks. “I think with ‘Never Really Cared’ and most of the songs on this new EP, they carry that feeling of intimacy and warmth and darkness. That’s one of the main reasons why we were attracted to covering ‘Mercy Street’ by Peter Gabriel, he’s really putting across that feeling of intimacy that we’re quite attracted to. So obviously when we let loose a bit in songs like ‘Future’, it’s where we just still wanna… I dunno it’s a celebration of being alive I guess”.
To Banfi this intimacy is about honesty, about connecting with and believing in their songs before asking their listeners to do the same. “The way ‘Never Really Cared’, the EP opens, that was a very deliberate thing of ‘this isn’t gonna be a thing where we slam you straight away with the big hooks and hopefully you’ll sit around to listen’, it was a way of saying ‘these songs mean everything to us… do you want to join us?’”. This gradual immersion is what allows the band to lead their listeners on such a personal journey across each song, and further across their body of work.
Whenever something important hangs in the balance, our bodies experience a tingling sense of suspense, and it is this feeling that Banfi have perfected as it ripples through Joe Banfi’s unique rasping vocals. The power this suspense holds is not to be underestimated, nor is the feeling of hope that glistens beneath the surface of everything this band do.
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Words: Katie Pilbeam
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