On Like a Ship Sailing, Plan B's James van Leuven steps beyond his drumming for Automaton and allows percussion to be the focus. Laying a foundation of trip-hop beats, van Leuven (who handles nearly all of the instrumentation) implements sampling and crawly guitars and bass. The record possesses the darker atmospheres of trip-hop but without the accompanying vocals. There's also a spy film aura that permeates much of the album. Sometimes it gets a little too dark with the disturbing line, "Howard just said he was going to blow his brains out next Tuesday." It's balanced by a child asking, "Have you ever been in love?," in "Love," which flirts with breakbeats. "Come out Strong" has a finger-snapping cool jazz vibe with trumpet from Bill Jones. This project might be "plan B" for van Leuven, but his great job with live percussion makes it grade-A post-rock.
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AllMusic Review by Kenyon Hopkin