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Defamation of Strickland Banks Import

4.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, April 20, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

2010 Sophomore album produced by Paul Epworth (Florence+the Machine) from English singer/rapper and follow up to his Top 40 (UK) debut "Who Needs Actions When You Got Words (2006)". Includes the UK Top 10 "Stay Too Long". NME is quoted as"Plan B has transformed himself into a retro soulster with designs on Winehouse's throne". 13 tracks.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 20, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Phantasm Imports
  • ASIN: B00352MEYU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,160 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ben Drew is Plan B and his sophomore CD "The defamation of Strickland Banks" comprises Motown/Northern Soul-inflected music, in sharp contrast to his Hip Hop/Rap debut.

Making him stand out just that more from a scene already awash with the likes of Daniel Merriweather, Duffy, Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson and the rest, is his interspersing of verses spoken/rapped in his pronounced British accent, much like fellow Brit The Streets.

The album is a concept album, with each track telling different parts of the tail of some Strickland Banks character who gets locked up for a crime he didn't commit. Drew sings in a throaty falsetto, sort of a cross between Terence Trent D'Arby and Smokey Robinson.

"Love goes down" is an incredibly beautiful ballad with sweeping strings, fleeting horns, and lovely harmonies and it's a deadringer for a Motown classic. Upping the tempo are the organ/horn-drenched "Writing's on the wall" and "Stay too long" (with a Rocky Hendrix feel and rapped bridge).

The lovely "She said" is lilting with parping horns and a rapped section, while the ballad "Welcome to hell" (chronicling Banks arrival at prison) sounds rather heavenly, complete with a choir. "The recluse" is upbeat with a dizzying string section, while "Prayin'" and the horn-driven "What you gonna do" (with rapped verses and euphoric sung chorus) are both retro Soul delights, the latter closest in sound to his debut.

Drew handles his translation with much better aplomb than Lil Wayne did, and the album has already topped the UK charts. This is a delightful change in musical direction that is both passionate and beautiful, and which find Drew a major name at the end of the year.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The sheer talent and vision of Plan B for his Defamation of Strickland Banks is awe inspiring! Each song plays as a chapter in the story of the life of Strickland and what all he goes through. But the best part is that each chapter evolves into the next creating an entire musical (and soon to be released motion picture in the UK) phenomenon!!! It is the best musical journey done by an artist in ages. This is not just a cd of music, this is a work of art and vision with great beat, excellent vocals and the all encompassing talent of Plan B. A very energetic and enlightening listen!! Enjoy!!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ironically enough, it was a reality show that helped me make the link to Ben Drew and "Plan B", as well as this remarkable album. When the track, "Prayin'", was used as part of the soundtrack for the series MOB WIVES, I heard it and immediately had to find out where it came from. I had to prepare myself for another shock when I did: I remembered The Artist Known As "Plan B" from his riveting performance in the Michael Caine thriller HARRY BROWN, and in the Chase and Status music video that promoted the film, "End Credits." All of this led up to my encounter with STRICKLAND BANKS, which is arguably one of the best concept albums I have ever heard in recent memory.

The amazing thing is that even though I am aware of rap and a lot of rap artists from both the U.S. and the U.K., I have never been an avid fan of the genre, though I am attracted to the work of artists who seek to do something different with it, than the kind of stuff that caters to the usual stereotype. This album achieves that and so much more.

Written, produced and performed by Drew, it is basically a song cycle that tells the story of his alter ego, "STRICKLAND BANKS", a British white soul singer riding the crest of the retro-R&B wave stirred up by artists like Amy Winehouse and Adele. Something of a cad and a player, Strickland has the lilting voice of a latter-day Smokey Robinson and rap skills that recall early Eminem with a Northern English accent. Banks tells us, through a blend of rap and song, the story of how his excesses and transgressions result in his arrest and surprisingly, ultimate conviction for a crime he didn't commit, followed by his fall from grace into the lowest point of his life, both in and out of Bellmarsh Prison, and his struggle to reach some kind of redemption.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Simply put....if I could create a sixth star to give this album I would. It is inventive and addictive. I am in love with this album. Buy it and listen to it start to finish. Each song by itself is amazing...but when put together, tells a story that is like reading a book you can't put down.
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Format: Audio CD
A surprising sound from a British rapper - modern Motown melodies delivered with a Smokey Robinson-infused voice. Nice.

The fictional Strickland Banks makes for an interesting story-telling concept that unites all the songs. 'Welcome to Hell' became a quick favorite, followed by the soft rap of 'What You Gonna Do'. That said, I'm not as fond of the rap passages in several other songs, but non-rap fans have plenty to choose from.

Prediction: This new Motown sound would normally have massive mainstream appeal once it reaches American audiences, but the obvious use of the word "f**k" in certain songs will be a barrier for some (it's not overly used, but definitely present). Despite the sweet Smokey voice and amazing Motown-inspired tunes, don't forget that Plan B is still a rapper...a multi-talented rapper/singer/songwriter with a highly enjoyable album.
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