Banks & Steelz
Anything But Words
Warner

 

From Aerosmith and Run-DMC’s collaboration on Walk this Way to 2002’s more-awkward pairing of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Phil Collins, when the worlds of rap and rock collide, the results can be unpredictable. Marking the arrival of this year’s most unlikely duo is Anything But Words, the debut album from Interpol frontman Paul Banks and Wu Tang mastermind RZA, a friendship that was born over a mutual love of chess. Energetic opener Giant sets out the New Yorkers’ stall. A reinvigorated RZA spits out barbed rhymes over a cinematic groove, contrasting beautifully with a chorus that borrows heavily from Banks’ underrated Julian Plenti solo project. Unsurprisingly, the set is mostly written around a basic formula, a rapped verse followed by a sung chorus and so on. Still, as lead single Love and War shows, the pair share a natural chemistry. RZA is busy “bitchin’ about her in the kitchen”, Banks is crooning “all is fair in love and war”, and it’s obvious this odd couple are having a good deal of fun with this side project.