Ben Drew, AKA Plan B ,has a rather large list of achievements. Not only has he had several top 40 hits, he has also starred in and, wait for it, directed several box office hits. But I’m not here to review his on-screen actions, I’m here for the music. So far Plan B has released two albums. His debut album ‘Who Needs Actions When You’ve Got Words’ unfortunately didn’t really find him any major success. It wasn’t until his second album, ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’ that Plan B broke through into the mainstream.
This album was a bit of a change in direction from his first. Strickland Banks was a concept album that followed the rise and fall of soul singer, Strickland Banks. The album is mostly soul with breakdowns that are rapped. Strickland Banks was a huge success, the album charted at number 1 in the UK album charts and the single She Said also reached number 1 in the singles chart.
My favourite song on this album though is definitely Stay Too Long. This song starts with a little faded in guitar feedback and then it’s straight in to it; guitar, drums, bass and, of course, Plan B. I think what I enjoy most about this track is that it’s so punchy, one of those songs that you can just nod your head to and certainly one that you can dance to.
Stay Too Long has a really quality mix and I personally think it has been well produced. Everything is very audible and for once you can actually hear the bassist! The only fault I can pick is that I thought the snare was a little too quiet. Nothing in the song seems to have been panned but there is a nice depth of field to it in that if you listen, it sounds like Plan B and his band are laid out on the track exactly how they would appear on stage; drums at the back (unfortunately!), Plan B at the front and then the rest kind of thrown in around the middle somewhere.
On the whole everything seems to have been nicely equalised as well…apart from the drums, again. I’m starting to think this producer has a bit of a personal vendetta! Joking aside though, you can hear everything nicely and nothing seems to be out of its frequency range, the kick drum sounds like a kick drum rather than a snare and vice versa. Dynamically I thought the song was nice, a quiet verse and a loud chorus. Nirvana – and many other grunge bands – did the same thing.
The colourisation effects have been used nicely too, Just in case you aren’t a music nerd, colourisation effects is a posh term for making something sound nice by maybe adding a little reverb here and there. I thought the backing singers sounded particularly good, all bright and fluffy!
So, to conclude, Stay Too Long gets a swish 4 out of 5 but the album as a piece gets a phenomenal 5 out of 5! Don’t forget to keep a watch on Mr B as he’s shortly releasing a film for his grand second album!