Plan B – The Defamation Of Strickland Banks

Posted on March 17, 2010

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Hang on, wait a minute, is this THE Plan B? The acoustic rapper who sang backwards murder songs? The guy who spat out the lyric “I tie a bandana round my head like Rambo/ shoot you on your fucking doorstep like Jill Dando”? It is? In that case take heed: if you buy The Defamation Of Strickland Banks on the basis of anything else you’ve ever heard by Plan B (also known as Ben Drew)then brace yourself for a shock. In one of the bravest and frankly most random changes of direction in a long time, Plan B has reinvented himself into a soul singer.

It could have gone so wrong so easily, but Drew has an ear for horns and funky guitar and organ lines that should make Mark Ronson very worried indeed. Plan B’s secret weapon however, is that he actually has a ridiculously good singing voice, which easily beats the likes of Daniel Merryweather, soaring on tracks like Prayin and single Stay Too Long. Who knew? Fear not though old school fans, because fairly regularly the music breaks down to allow for some rapping. Amazingly it never sounds forced or jarring, and is never overpowering.

The Defamation is perhaps a few tracks to long, but it’s worth remembering that it is a concept album, and it manages to tell its story with a lightness of touch that deserves attention.

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