I make it a general rule not to review a band more than once. I've got about 40 Fall albums, but only ever reviewed Extricate even though I love all of them. I've made an exception with Plan B - Ben Drew.
A live performance of Sick 2 Def hooked me, and ever since then I've loved everything he's done. Actions, Strickland Banks, even Paint it Blacker. Everything. I keep waiting for him to slip up, but he never seems to. And Ill Manors is possibly the best thing he's done to date.
The combo of soulful choruses and the rap is mesmerizing, and the lyrics! They're right up there with Immortal Technique imho. This is heartfelt storylines and political analysis seamlessly combined. The initiation rite in Playing with Fire recalls Dance with the Devil; Lost My Way continues the theme. The story of the Runaway is heartbreaking - and ironically perhaps even more visual in the lyric than in the film itself.
Great Day for a Murder looks at the press: 'Looking at the Sun'll make you go blind, just like people say; Cost you your sight as well as 30p a day.'
Ill Manors takes on the reasons for the riots without excusing them. 'Don't bloody give me that, I'll lose my temper; Who closed down the community centre? I killed time there, used to be a member; What'll I do now till September.'
The saddest line for me on the whole album, one from the beautiful Falling Down. 'I know that they can't knock me down as long as I keep falling.'
Effortless. Succinct. Clever. And why? Because he's sincere and passionate about what he does. Ill Manors is a triumph!