The title of the new collection from BANKS, Serpentina, is a word that’s been with her for a while. The alt-pop singer used to doodle it on her notebooks and binders, loving the way the letters curled and curved together when she wrote in cursive, snakelike even on the paper. When she adopted the term for the name of her new album (out on Friday, April 8th), it gained more material significance.
“It took on goddess energy,” she tells Consequence over the phone. “To shed the skin you’re in, you have to be focused on the present.”
The LP is BANKS’ first since 2019; like so many other people, both in creative industries and otherwise, the intervening years have been full of turmoil, transition, and transformation. There are moments of heaviness in the album, and darker themes BANKS has never been the type to shy away from — but there are also many points bursting with hope.
“If you listen in order, it feels like a fully-formed being,” she says of the LP’s thematic pace.
Movement often feels intrinsically tied to BANKS’ music, especially with her background as a dancer. She shares that preparation for this release and getting back into the dance studio to learn and refine choreography was a lightning rod for creative energy and inspiration. Like her music, she plays around with contrasts. “I want a mix of feeling ‘creature-y’ and animalistic, and also sensual and feminine,” she explains.
About three-quarters of the way through the album is a song called “Spirit,” a soulful and deeply optimistic track that features some essential vocals from genre-fluid vocalist Samoht. BANKS explains that she was inspired by gospel melodies while writing Serpentina as a whole.