The Defamation of Strickland Banks

Studio Album by released in 2010

The Defamation of Strickland Banks review

Plan B felt too tight in the frames of one direction

Ben Drew better known as Plan B is an undoubtedly extraordinary personality. The artist had considered himself an outcast since childhood, the father left the family when the boy was only six and he was far from the best pupils at school. When a teenager Ben taught himself to play guitar, wrote love songs with some R&B spirit, but already at the age of 18 he preferred to turn to rap viewing the style as more appropriate for self-expression. In 2006 Plan B released his debut album Who Needs Actions When You’ve Got Words. Both the audience and the critics made a varied acclaim but nobody remained indifferent and he quickly got himself a fan base. Yet soon it turned out that the choice of genre was not definitive for Ben for that time. This winter the single Stay Too Long from Drew’s new album The Defamation Of Strickland Banks was released and it was clear at once – the guy felt obviously too tight in the frames of one direction only and therefore he remembered about what he had started his music path from – about soul and R&B, and surprised everyone with his incredibly beautiful vocals.

The mood changes regularly on The Defamation Of Strickland Banks

One should not that except for music Ben Drew got actively involved in film making, played in a couple of films and took part in writing the soundtrack. The album The Defamation Of Strickland Banks was born exactly with the connection with that interest. Ben initially wanted to create a story of a character suffering from drug addiction, make a film about him and record the album as the official soundtrack to it. Thus The Defamation Of Strickland Banks is a conceptual record, the protagonist is a young singer named Strickland Banks who falls in love, is put in prison for a crime he never committed, goes deep into introspection, prays, is set free and continues his searching of life’s sense. Little by little we learn it all from each of the album’s 13 compositions. The story unveils with the most melodious accompaniment and is told with Plan B’s most pleasant voice with some falsetto elements – from the opener Love Goes Down till the final What Yo Gonna Do you cannot help admiring it. The mood changes regularly depending on the situation in which the main character finds himself. Thus, the single Stay Too Long is one of the most eclectic compositions on the album, whereas a most beautiful soul-number She Said conquers with its sensuality. A very beautiful and powerful song Welcome To Hell opens the series of prison stories, and it is only the third track from the end, Free, on which liberation finally occurs. Closer to the album’s finale a little melancholic atmosphere reigns on I Know A Song, making it clear that happy endings are for kids, and the things are much more complicated in the real life.

Not just an album but a complete romance

It is an interesting fact that Ben has actually invented his pseudonym because he was not willing to sing sweet R&B songs anymore and changed his plans for hip-hop. So at first one may think he has made a kind of step back. The point is, however, that the album concept would be even more understandable if The Defamation Of Strickland Banks was a hip-hop album, and this makes it even more unusual. Some of the compositions do contain a bit of Plan B’s rapping but the album’s general slant is rather romantic. The protagonist thinks of his ups and downs, suffers and reflects a great deal. Simple and complicated tunes, contagious beats and high level arrangements will not make you feel bored, and when the album comes to a full stop you realize that you have actually listened to a complete romance. In one of his interviews Plan B told that he plans to record a hip-hop album in the nearest future so those fans anticipating can be reassured and those who are just getting acquainted with this unique artist will surely appreciate The Defamation Of Strickland Banks as it deserves.