★★★☆

The Banks & Steelz story began five years ago, when Paul Banks of Interpol fame and the Wu Tang Clan’s head honcho RZA cut a demo together in between chess-playing sessions.

While the unlikely duo had never planned on releasing a full-length album, fate had different plans.

Banks’ shoegaze-y riffs and resigned indie rock vocal stylings sound at odds with RZA’s street-smart demeanour at first, but as the album rolls on, the method in the madness becomes evident. The trick here is to pull out all stops and enjoy the album without analysing its discrete constituents.

The pair seize the opportunity to experiment with fresh ideas while being careful not to become another rock/rap mashup cliche. To that end, RZA keeps things authentic with his raw flow, and doesn’t adjust his style much in order to fit with the album’s often experimental sound.

Wielding their impressive respective talents both as performers and producers, the duo have arrived at a great mix of sounds on this album.

Ultimately, Banks & Steels have taken something that’s been done to death and recreated it in a refreshing way. That’s what makes this collaboration work and this album a solid debut.

Banks & Steelz’sAnything But Wordsis out now via Warner Bros.