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Plan B ‘The Defamation Of Strickland Banks’

The Defamation Of Strickland Banks‘ is Plan B‘s return to his solo music career, and it is the sound of an artist eager to light up the charts. This sophomore release sees Plan B ditch the Eminem inspired rap music in order for him to produce a collection of soulful, pop tunes.

Ben Drew, aka Plan B, came to prominence in 2006 with his debut album ‘Who Needs Actions When You Got Words‘ – an angst ridden hip hop LP brimming with controversial lyrics and one too many swear words. Despite strong critical support for the album it peaked at number 30 in the UK album charts. Since 2006, however, Plan B‘s star has risen considerably, partly due to his well-received roles in the Adulthood and Harry Brown films, but chiefly thanks to his vocal contributions to the Chase & Status hits ‘Pieces‘ and ‘End Credits‘.

The majority of ‘The Defamation Of Strickland Banks‘ is built upon Plan B‘s lovely falsetto singing voice – a vocal that will surprise anyone who has heard his East London accent or seen him slouching around in his usual street attire. The most outstanding tracks, however, are those where Plan B breaks up his high-pitched singing with bursts of rapping, such as first single and standout track ‘Stay Too Long‘. This may be because the mixture of smooth melodies and urgent raps sounds fresh and inspired, but it is also because, at times, Ben Drew‘s sweet delivery of his singing vocals can get a little sickly.

Musically, the Motown influence and use of brass instrumentation brings to mind the recent productions of Mark Ronson – the backing music of ‘She Said‘ or ‘Prayin‘ wouldn’t be out of place on an Amy Winehouse album. Opening ballad ‘Love Goes Down‘ is a great, little love song, but there are a few too many ballads on ‘The Defamation…’ for its own good. The mid-paced pop song ‘Writings On The Wall‘ is the best of the rap-free songs, and fans of Gnarls Barkley will lap it up.

Lyrically, ‘The Defamation…’ is a conceptual album about a soul singer’s (Strickland Banks) rise and fall from fame. In reality, it is an excuse for Ben Drew to throw on a sharp suit, some smart shoes, and croon cheesy love songs, without completely eliminating his street cred. Overall, the concept is dragged out a bit and is rather forgettable (as far as conceptual ideas go), but this is the sound of Plan B having a bit of fun and, as a result, he has created a memorable, British soul-pop album that will appeal to fans of both Eminem and Duffy.

Tracklist: Plan B – The Defamation Of Strickland Bank

01 Love Goes Down
02 Writing’s On The Wall
03 Stay Too Long
04 She Said
05 Welcome To Hell
06 Hard Times
07 The Recluse
08 Traded In My Cigarettes
09 Prayin’
10 Darkest Place
11 Free
12 I Know A Song
13 What You Gonna Do

Originally published by Rivmixx here

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~ by cliveparisrozario on March 10, 2010.

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