x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Plan B infuses his sound with righteous anger on Ill Manors

Having dabbled with hip-hop and soul on his first two albums, Ben Drew - aka Plan B - has now embarked on Plan C, and a dramatic new ingredient.

Plan B
Ill Manors
679/Atlantic
*****

Having dabbled with hip-hop and soul on his first two albums, Ben Drew - aka Plan B - has now embarked on Plan C, and a dramatic new ingredient: righteous anger.

"Are you sitting comfortably? Well put your seat belts on because you're in for a harrowing ride," warns Drew on I Am the Narrator, although we've already got the idea from the string-heavy title track, which opens proceedings with a host of shady deeds and dudes.

This is a companion record to the film Ill Manors, Drew's violent directorial debut, and a narrative clearly aids his creative process.

Thrilling throughout, its grandest moment is Lost My Way, a rush of breakbeats, cartoon voices and a furious chanted finale. On Pity the Plight, an unlikely contribution from the veteran punk-poet John Cooper Clarke is cleverly pitched against disturbing movie dialogue, while Drew's splendidly soulful singing graces Deepest Shame, the plaintive tale of a life gone wrong. By contrast, the narrator's own career has just scaled a glorious peak.