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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a surprise!
I searched for this CD following hearing the track 'Prayin' on the radio. I was hugely impressed by this number but had no idea who the performer was. After having finally discovered the identity of the artist, I did some further research on YouTube. I cannot fully express how good I think this body of work is. It is so refreshing that in this age of manufactured,...
Published on 11 Oct. 2010 by Patricia

versus
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, What's Plan C?
I heard 'She said' and thought that it was an amazing song with incredible vocals by Ben Drew. The first half of the album doesn't disappoint either - it is crammed with engaging tunes and top notch lyrics that add up something very different from what his contemporaries are doing at the moment. Love Goes Down, Writing's on the Wall, Stay Too Long & Welcome To Hell are...
Published on 11 July 2010 by whistlingduck


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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a surprise!, 11 Oct. 2010
This review is from: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Audio CD)
I searched for this CD following hearing the track 'Prayin' on the radio. I was hugely impressed by this number but had no idea who the performer was. After having finally discovered the identity of the artist, I did some further research on YouTube. I cannot fully express how good I think this body of work is. It is so refreshing that in this age of manufactured, conveyor-belt, processed pulp, to find that there is a young performer who is offering fresh, thoughtful music. I admit that I am no rap fan, but the quality of the tracks on this CD completely eradicated my fears.
I cannot praise this CD highly enough, every track is high quality and I would urge anyone who may be dithering over this CD to make the leap and invest in it - it will not disappoint!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Surprise, 15 May 2010
This review is from: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Audio CD)
I recently purchased this album as a present for my girlfriend as she was a fan of the first two singles.

I had never been a fan of Plan B and after being cajoled into listening to the album I was convinced that my opinion would not change. However, upon listening to the album I was surprised to see that Plan B had written and recorded one of the best British soul albums in recent memory.

Even if you're not sure about Plan B or never liked him before this is well worth a listen. A refined, well-written and emotive piece of work.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary concept album, 18 Aug. 2010
This review is from: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Audio CD)
To say Ben Drew has gone through an incredible transformation is now almost a cliche, but in simple English there are no other words to explain it. From his debut `Who Needs Actions, When You Got Words' back in 2006, we've gone from the angry, young londoner to a modern, spotless reenactment of one of the biggest musical movements in history.

Concept albums are hard to come by in the world of pop, Mike Skinner only being the notable artist in hip-hop to achieve that, with good effect in `A Grand Don't Come For Free' and whilst the tales of Strickland Banks aren't quite as lyrically moving and mind-blowing, the journey is still a joy to listen to. Following a love-struck fictional man, who ends up in prison has never been so fun and toe-tappingly good.

In his most sucessful release of the album thus far `She Said' captures the pleading of Strickland in a court case, the sound track to that so warmful with the blowing of sax and ever-so-light strings. Prior to that, his next single release `Stay Too Long', upbeat as far as the album is concerned, is a step on from the opening singles `Love Goes Down' and `Writing's on the Wall', almost Lionel Ritchie-esque. To mention these songs in the same breath as such an artist, really is a tribute to Plan B.

It doesn't stop there, further displaying is magical ability to sing as well as spitfire harsh lyrics. `The Recluse' without a doubt, is the absolute pinnacle of his work, instantly launching us into the song title and mesmorising violins. The third single release of the album `Prayin' is another example of his soulful works, eclipsing other attempts to capture the sound of the 60's, from artists `Duffy' and `VV Brown'. If you hadn't felt the northern soul influences yet, then `Free' will timewarp you into the Wigan Casino without a doubt, in an almost impossible-not-to-dance record, tinted with a subtle vinyl crackle for effect.

This album, if anything really begs the question - is there a genre of music this boy can't touch and master? Thus far, the answer is no. A truly incredible piece of modern artwork.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Let Plan B do his thing!, 18 April 2010
By 
J. WATSON (Blighty) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Audio CD)
I am a massive fan of Plan B's first album and was intrigued to hear that he had completely changed his sound. Make no mistake this is a huge turn in direction, but he delivers his soul voice equally as well as his rapping one. He is obviously a very talented musician - making an album as exciting and high in quality as his first, the fact that he is equal in totally opposite styles is a testament to this talent. I don't understand these people who are knocking him for sounded like Will Young! This is a million miles away from a Will Young album - all the songs center around a bloke put in prison and his fear of being surrounded by murderers and rapists, last time I checked this is not the sort of content on a Radio 2 playlist. Ben Drew has grown up - it would be a shame if he continued to make music about life on a grime estate, the world has opened up to him and his music reflects that. So the people who like to use words like 'Da' in their reviews should let him get paid and let him get laid. How often do we have an a British artist with his integrity enjoying success? He's not Will Young and he's not the X Factor - in a time when the nations dreadful radion stations fill the air waves with total dross we should celebrate him, not bemoan him for moving on. For those who want a top up of the nastier sound to life go listen to Freddy Foxx and Immortal Technique's back catalogue. Let Plan B do his thing and admire him for breaking out of the manor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Defamation of Strickland Banks, 21 July 2011
By 
B. Woolmore (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Audio CD)
I purchased this CD and absolutely love it. There are however a couple of tracks which, if there are children around then I skip over, as language isn't suitable for young ears - but that's just to be aware of. Excellent Album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, but completely different to previous albums, 18 May 2010
By 
Mike Sadler (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Audio CD)
I bought this album based on the single "She Said", and on that basis the album certainly didn't disappoint. The tracks have a common theme, and sit together well as an album - but are all different in their own right. There are relatively few albums I am happy to sit down and listen through (the Eeels' "Beautiful Freak", Kanye West's "Late Registration", etc.), but this is one of them.

It is, however, a massive change from his previous album. It changes genre and target audience completely, so if you're a dyed-in-the-wool Plan B fan, there is no guarantee you'll like this at all. Likewise, if hip-hop isn't your thing, this may well delight you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buy this CD, 15 May 2010
By 
Ian Townsend "ipanema bojangles" (birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Audio CD)
Just BRILLIANT! Very different and even better than his first Cd. Old skool soul with a new flava
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, What's Plan C?, 11 July 2010
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This review is from: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Audio CD)
I heard 'She said' and thought that it was an amazing song with incredible vocals by Ben Drew. The first half of the album doesn't disappoint either - it is crammed with engaging tunes and top notch lyrics that add up something very different from what his contemporaries are doing at the moment. Love Goes Down, Writing's on the Wall, Stay Too Long & Welcome To Hell are all excellent. Just when I thought that this was sounding like a classic album it seemed to run out of steam and it soon became quite dull and tiresome. The tunes just aren't there any more. I loved the idea of it- a Soul concept album - but it seems to peter out and the unresolved ending seems a bit of a cop-out. I don't doubt that Plan B is a highly talented singer whose star is in the ascendant - I just reckon his future releases will be far superior to this.
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62 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If i hear one more idiot say sell out....., 10 April 2010
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This review is from: The Defamation of Strickland Banks (Audio CD)
It makes me laugh seeing all these people making comments about selling out, is plan b selling his own range of toasters or bouncing around rapping whilst rhianna or kylie minogue dance around in some pop video? no far from it, what hes merely done is change his style made something different, hes elevated away from his gritty and hard hitting first album and pushed things forward, something that should be celebrated in an age where you have rappers talking baout there cars and the b1tch mobiles pumped up with b1tch juice etc etc plan b tells stories and is a genuine talented songwriter, hes not a manufactured pop article hes a superb talent. whilst british music is full of same old same old indie bands and poor television act winners, plan b sets himself apart being able to sing better than any of the vile JLS and raps better than the likes of eminem or whatever other so called rap artist out there, he also manages to hold the flag for brtish music and has made an album which will be listened to and talked about long after this year and the next. i`m also fully confident in saying i doubt he`ll be on celebrity big brother or opening a local shopping centre anytime soon. if you have any pre-conceptions in regards to him his music as sell out, then you really should take a long hard look at yourself. hes something we all should be proud off in a chart filled an obsessed with manufactured and corporate trash. ITS TIME FOR PLAN B.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Album of 2010, 9 Jan. 2011
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I bought this not really knowing what to expect. I tend to really only listen to music on my Ipod in the gym and have not listened to much else since I bought this six weeks ago.

It is a concept album, where Plan B tells the fictional story of Strickland Banks, a soul singer who is wrongly imprisoned for a crime- I think it must be murder because he describes a fella getting hurt, but the crime is never explicitly referred to.

The album is basically Northern Soul type music with some rap and ballad thrown in.

It is without doubt absolutely phenomenal. It is true to say that there is not a bad track on the album.

It opens with the up tempo 'Love Goes Down' and 'Writings on the Wall'. The highlight for me though is 'Stay Too Long' which basically is about how he stays too long at parties and then gets into his spots of bother. It is such a driving tune, that then hits you with some short spells of aggressive rap. This may not be a great sounding description, but trust me, it works. It did well in the charts in its sanitised version but this is better.

'She Said', the fourth song on the album was the other big hit in the charts.

I particularly like a track called 'The Recluse' which tells the story of when 'Strickland Banks' was imprisoned and was too frightened to come out of his cell. This track in particular makes amazing use of strings.

If there is a fault with the album it is that it could have done to have been longer to properly explain the story, but apparently there is a reason for this.

Plan B - real name Ben Drew- originally started his published music career with a hard rap album called 'Who Needs Actions When You Have Got Words'. This current album was therefore a total change in direction for him. He had wanted to release this album as a two parter, with the second part returning to his rapping roots and filling out the story. However, it is widely reported that his record company would not release the rap part of the album as they think it is not commercially viable. It is therefore being released by his own label; it is hoped this year.

Some people have ridiculously suggested Plan B has somehow 'sold out' with this album. What a load of tosh. The man has written all of these tracks and his voice is an absolute match for this style of music. Many so called music stars would kill for this talent. The Guardian reported he had said this was the best soul album he could make, so he probably would not do another but maybe move onto punk. I'll be interested to hear that, but Plan B- please at some stage do another soul album, it would be a tragic waste for such a talent never to visit this genre again!
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