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Plan B: The Defamation of Strickland Banks
Buy! - (679/Atlantic)
London's Ben Drew (aka Plan B) largely ditches the edgy, gritty grime/hip-hop that characterized his 2006 debut Who Needs Actions When You Got Words for a full-blown, retro-stylized soul/pop sound on his marvelous sophomore effort. The conceptual record revolves around the fictional rise and fall of Strickland Banks, a sharp-suited British soul singer, with Plan B showcasing his impressive, expressive voice atop Motown-influenced production that's assisted by UK hitmaker Paul Epworth (Adele, Cee Lo Green, Florence & the Machine, Friendly Fires, Bloc Party, The Rapture, etc.). The intermittent moments of rapping/toasting sound a bit awkward, but much of The Defamation of Strickland Banks' revivalist soul shines bright. 3/25/2011 - Alex