The Austin Chronicle

Sunday ACL Fest Record Reviews

The Boy Who Cried Freedom (Darkroom/Interscope)

By Thomas Fawcett, October 6, 2017, Music

The Boy Who Cried Freedom is a blink-and-miss-it five- song, 15-minute EP. Fortunately, 26-year-old Nigerian-born, UK-bred singer-songwriter Jacob Banks makes a quick impression. Layered rings of "Chainsmoking" unfold a bluesy moan and chain gang stomp before Banks chokes out lyrics in a gospel growl over synths and electric guitars: "It's getting harder to breathe; chainsmoking your love can't be good for my sanity." That same plaintive howl marks gospel-tinged modern R&B on "Mercy" and "Unholy War," but results vary when he veers from that lane. "Photograph" reveals a bittersweet acoustic soul vibe, but suffers from odd lyrical phrasing. (1:15pm, Barton Springs stage; weekend one only)


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