Review : Plan B - The Defamation Of Strickland Banks
YahooWhen Ben Drew (aka Plan B)'s furious debut provoked a fuss four long years ago, most of it predictably centred on the grime-dabblers' white skin and the obscenity of his lyrics. Only a few writers and almost as few record buyers also noticed his eclectic tastes (as telegraphed by his deft, leftfield use of Leonard Cohen and Radiohead samples) or the fragile loveliness of his nascent soul croon. If they had, perhaps this very different second effort, 'The Defamation Of Strickland Banks', wouldn't have come as such a surprise to so many.
Still, even Drew must be a little surprised at just how successful his dive into full-blooded retro-pop has proven, with '…Strickland Banks' already boasting two top ten smashes to its name. Yet that success seems a just reward for the lavish, loving attention Drew has clearly invested in both his voice (richer and sweeter than even hinted at on his debut) and the album's period detail, which - apart from a few detours into the old spitting invective - sounds like a lost collection of minor Motown classics rescued from a dusty corner of an old record shop....full text
ClashmusicLet’s sort this one out up front. Ben Drew, AKA Plan B, has transformed himself from a hoodied, ASBO rapper to a sweet-voiced soul boy. That’s all.
In fact, his debut album (2006’s notorious ‘Who Needs Actions When You’ve Got Words’) contained a couple of songs on which his surprisingly delicate falsetto took centre-stage. So, we’re hardly in Ziggy Stardust territory here. The reason for this musical reorientation is new album ‘The Defamation Of Strickland Banks’.
Yep, it’s a concept album; the tracks form the chronology of a story about a soul singer (Strickland Banks, no less) who is accused of a crime, sent to prison and, well, we won’t spoil the outcome. The sonic transformation works, most notably on the spinning arpeggios of ‘The Recluse’ (on which a desperate Banks/Plan B refuses to leave his cell), or the swaggering Motown of ‘Prayin’ (which sets Banks begging his Lord for mercy). However, Plan B’s jackhammer rapping has not been completely jettisoned....full text
MusicomhWhen it comes to startling reinventions, that of Ben Drew, aka Plan B, will probably be the year's biggest eyebrow raiser.
Four years ago, Drew was an angry, acoustic-guitar toting, hoodie wearing rapper - introducing his debut album Who Needs Actions When You Got Words with the memorable words "It's my time now, ya get me? Fuckin' cunts", before threatening to "Stab you in the eye with a fuckin' biro" and telling all manner of grim tales about gang culture, underage sex and drugs. It was, in a word, bleak....full text
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