The pressure for Plan B to live up to the monumental success of The Defamation of Strickland Banks must have been monumental. Playing O2 Arena shows to a newfound audiences allured in by his blend of hip credibility and smooth retro swing-beat overcoat, he could easily have banged out more of the same and smiled as the cash rolled in.
But he hasn’t. Ill Manors is an intense, frenetic record that spits out a city-like sprawl of lyrics – a labyrinthine tangle of wordplay that points the finger firmly at ‘bloody rich kids’. It’s combatitive stuff that could easily alienate the audience he made on Strickland Banks, but in its sprint-pace smattering of beats and string jabs, it re-crafts Plan B – the man – into an artist never willing to compromise, and for that, we admire him greatly.
Ill Manors is released on the 7th May.