Westbank
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Westbank

| SELF | AFM

| SELF | AFM
Band Pop Reggae

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| Initial Deposit is a goldmine for West bank
ALBUM: INITIAL DEPOSIT
ARTISTE: WEST BANK
RATINGS: FOUR STARS OUT OF FIVE

It is refreshing when album comes out that tries to strike out from the petty conventions that so often handicap reggae and dancehall music. This group West Bank is not afraid to experiment and try to update their sound by adding an eclectic mix of influences and sounds to their reggae mix.

All the members are Caribbean nationals, Joe West brings a maturity and a braggadocio to the tracks while Mr. Millinnium brings a gravelly-voiced resonance to the tracks that he appears on. It is good to hear Joe West’s crystal clear dancehall sound riding some amped-up synth-and-drum dancehall rhythms. He uses a complex rhyming scheme and a bass-heavy voice to achieve an adrenaline-rush immediacy on Don’t Come Around Here. The males in West Bank strive for candidness and honesty in their music as they address relationships, sex and abd habits, but they never sink to levels of depravity of their dancehall peers even on standard guns-and-money-and-drugs tracks.

The third member, Jody Jode is a rare find in the reggae-dancehall world, you feel almost like Indiana Jones discovering a treasured crystal skull by sheer luck in the middle of a rain forest in South America.

One of my favourite singles is the semi-robotic, mildly threatening warble of Don’t Come Around Here, where Jody’s voice takes on some sort of ethereal quality that will echo in your mind long after the song has stopped playing. Joe West brings a menacing Jamaican growl to the track as well as he shows that rudebwoys will defend their turf whenever necessary, Jody has the sort of vocal range to interpret different things into each song, and she brings a sort of deep sensibility to the tracks as her voice is pure sensual soul. Even on weed odes like ‘More I Smoke My Trees’, her class shines through like a beacon, and with able assistance from Joe West, this song could be a certifiable club banger. She can also deejay as well, bringing a smile to your face as she deejays about being a hot gal prone to conspicuous consumption, or iced-out bracelets on Hot Girl. You will be impressed as she spits a vicious eight bars rap-style on ‘All Night Long’ after singing a super-sexy, deliriously amped hook.

Arguably the best song on the CD is the lead single, Never Find Another. This is the track where the divergent elements of West Bank truly come together to create a little bit of recording magic. It combines the brashness of Joe West, the laid-back-cool of Mr. Millenium with the pathos of Jody Jode, and boom, you have a potential hit on your hands. When she says ‘you’ll never find another like me’, you believe her and you regret it. Jody Jode balances all the garden variety tough talk with some decent singalong hooks. She is a fierce and powerful young voice moving toward something bigger. She is da bomb!

West Bank’s first single, “Never Find Another” has already placed them firmly on the lyrical stage. This sexy, jazzy reggaefied groove demonstrates the group’s versatility, and has created enough positive buzz to get to #7 on the Suzie Q Reggae Trail chart which airs on TVJ and on stations in New York.

West Bank’s debut album, Initial Deposit, is a must-have asset for any long term music collector because this is an investment that keeps on generating interest. Even with a politically controversial name, they don’t get involved in discussions of religion and politics. They know how to party, and have worked hard to build up a decent underground in the Jamaican communities along the East Coast of the USA. They have been able to do steady gigs at reggae clubs along the east coast, and have used these road trips as a way to grow closer as a performing and recording unit.
- A.K.A., Contributing Writer


Jody Jode’s amazing ice-pick sharp vocals soar on this lead single from West Bank Group from their debut album, Initial Deposit. With her mocha skin and long flowing hair, the gorgeous Jody certainly knows how to light up a scene, and she anchors the song with her pinpoint vocals. The teenage girls will love the male members, the slab-muslced Mr. Millennium and the cooler-than-frozen-kool-aid Joe West.

The video is a bit short, running only 3 minutes and 17 seconds, but it does the trick of introducing you to the Caribbean’s next rising superstar group with two songs, Never Find Another and a juicy cut called Don’t Come Around Here. The video kicks off with a tall sleek-looking girl angrily wheeling a Pullman out of a house, with Joe West quickly behind her heels. Jody’s superb voice declares ‘test me and it’s over, so don’t you come over, you’ll never find another like me…’. The girl stands at the curb while Joe West tries to argue his case. The scene then quickly shifts to the West Bank Group driving in a jeep with Jody riding shotgun and Joe West driving, and Millenniumn in the back seat. They deliver the first verse while in the car and I love the director's kinetic editing style. Mill and Joe West deejay about girls who messed up and lost their love because of their antics and reluctance to commit and then Jody Jode lowers the boom with her wonderful chorus.

There is a humourous scene where Millenium comes into the house to find his girl reading a book, and when he checks in the kitchen, no food has been prepared for dinner. He goes to her and begins to argue, but it is to no avail, she just chew hers gum and goes back to reading her book. There is also a nice beach scene where the three seem to be conversing about past loves gone sour, and then what appears to be an actual studio recording session where the group nails the vocals for the song.

The second song is a shot in a dark room with an overhead light which focuses on Jody Jode and Joe West as they each, in turn, deliver their lines. The song has a throwback funk-70s R & B feel. - : Mehbrak/Jahsen Send RATING: FOUR STARS


Discography

Never find another / swing that

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Bio

WESTBANK BIO} They’ve been compared to the Fugees, yet others would swear they’re straight up Reggae dancehall. No wait, Reggae pop? No, no, no, they’re jazz/R&B. So what do you get when you put all these elements together? A new band called WestBank with a flavor so tight they defy definition. “We want to create a whole new sound, always with that Reggae vibe,” says lead band member, Joe West. The group is “a musical bank of talent that represents the West Indies as well as the whole Western hemisphere.” WestBank has a sound like no other. Just when you think you know their sound, they’ll hit you with another cut and take you in a whole new direction, the next cut being just as tight as the last. And no matter your specific taste in Reggae, you’re sure to enjoy every one. Relevant, fun, and fresh, their lyrics possess a timeless appeal and reflect the cultural richness that is the Caribbean. Even their dancehall cuts are anything but typical. Audiences will bounce to their beats and vibe with their message long after they’ve left the clubs. WestBank is destined to connect with audiences for many generations to come. Who are the major assets that make up WestBank? First up is Joel Isaacs, aka Joe West. Joe West is no stranger to the music industry. Behind the scenes as a writer and producer, he enjoyed success managing two popular groups, ARP and Emerge, in his native Jamaica. These groups performed with powerhouse acts such as Beenie Man, Anthony B’, Bounty Killer and Destiny’s Child. Now front and center, Joe West loves DJ’ing, or chanting, as he affectionately calls it. His love of chanting is evident when he hits the stage, electrifying crowds with his high energy hold-nothing-back performances! Next up is Patrick Livingston, aka Mr. Millennium. This self-proclaimed shy guy with the booming velvet voice is the perfect laid back balance to Joe’s wildin’ out Elephant Man stage antics. Born in Antigua, Mr. Millennium grew up in St. Croix and now lives in New Jersey. He’s performed and perfected various forms of Reggae and Calypso music in different venues and was lighting up the dancehall scene with his explosive lyrics before finding a home with WestBank. Last but definitely not least is Jodaine Penrose, aka Jody Jode, whose silky sound is the perfect element that blends WestBank together like sweet butter. Jody Jode, a Jamaican native also currently living in New Jersey, was born to sing. She has been singing since she was seven years old. Her voice, pure sensual soul, will earn her a place along side her creative inspirations and vocal royalty Patti Labelle, Mariah Carey, and Mary J. Blige. This future diva’s star is already on the rise. WestBank’s first single, “You Make Me Wanna Move” has already placed them firmly on the lyrical stage. Their latest single, “My Life”, a sexy, jazzy Reggae groove demonstrating the group’s versatility is creating enough positive buzz to keep them there. The music industry strikes gold with WestBank, whose in-the-works soon-to-drop debut album, Initial Deposit is sure to be a long term asset to any music collection. Reggae posers beware, because WestBank’s stepping up the music game. Initial Deposit will be the best investment to the industry in years