I don’t always like it when a band or artist directly contacts me to ask if I can review their work. Mainly because, I feel it is awkward if I write a review less favourable than what they were hoping for. I mean, they are waiting for you to email them back with the link for the review, and going back with something negative is just awkward.
This is why I tend not to take requests when artists approach me. But when Rosie Bans sent me a message asking if I take requests for reviews, I was compelled to say yes. It probably had a lot to do with how polite she was and I felt bad saying no. So, I took a deep breath, said yes and just hoped that what she sent through wasn’t rubbish.
While I waited for the EP to land in my inbox, I thought I should at least listen to some of Bans’ previous work and get some kind idea of what I got myself into. I put it off for a little while, scared of what I might find when I hit play on her last EP Process. When I finally did – what a relief! It wasn’t dreadful. In fact it was pretty great. “Stop This” opened the EP with an energy I just wasn’t expecting. Phew! I can stop worrying now.
But enough of that – I am here to talk about Opia. The three track EP opens with “The Fall” and I have to admit initially I was disappointed. Where was the energy of Process? Where was that excitement? “The Fall” is a piano led sombre affair that runs seamlessly into second track “Walking In The Cold.” And finally “On These Strings” maintains the delicate and vulnerable atmosphere Bans has created for this EP. While yes, at first I wanted that energy, but after listening to Opia several times, I realised Bans doesn’t need that energy to be big.
Why give us what she has already given us before? Process does its job as being a fun, exuberant record. There was no need to have Opia just be the same kind of record. Bans lets her listeners see a more vulnerable side to herself. Not knowing what Opia meant, my first Google search told me it meant a visual defect. A few more clicks and I saw it has to do with the “ambiguous intensity of eye contact.” This could not have been more perfect. Intense eye contact. It just works so well with this EP. Opia is so intimate and delicate it feels like you are looking Bans directly in the eye and learning all kinds of private details about herself.
While I expected something different from Opia, causing a bit of a let down, it did not take long for my opinion to change. Bans’ raw talent quickly dashes any disappointments away and you realise just how great Opia is very quickly.