Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Repent, Replenish, Repeat
According to recent interviews, Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip didn’t plan for such a long gap between 2010’s The Logic Of Chance and this, their third LP. However, the duo have been keeping busy; both have released and toured solo records, Pip has been trying his hand as a DJ for XFM, Le Sac has been an in-demand remixer. Professional success can’t prevent private turmoil though, as Pip will attest. Some of the best albums ever made have been break-up records, some melancholic, some bitter – this release is certainly in the latter camp and the duo’s darkest, heaviest offering yet.
‘Stunner’ opens with a venomous Pip getting straight to the point and setting the tone lyrically for much of the record, “I know it sounds weird/ I do want you to look back on this and smile/ But I kinda want that smile to be through tears”. Message conveyed, Le Sac takes cue and drops an unsettling, industrial beat which accentuates the menace in Pip’s delivery. It’s a tough listen which keeps you on edge right up to the fadeout.
Second single ‘Gold Teeth’ is in a similar vein and although the choice of Flux Pavilion as guest producer was surprising, the outcome certainly isn’t – it’s a jarring mishmash of audio clichés, autotune, dubstep bleeps and filter sweeps, you name it, it’s in there backing Pip’s aggressive verses.
The highpoints of this record are the slower, more introspective numbers and the stand-out track is ‘Terminal’; a spoken word piece about a magical, ecstasy fuelled night with a mysterious, terminally-ill girl, scored with slowly evolving, atmospheric textures reminiscent of Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘I’m New Here’. Pip is touching and articulate, with lines like, “I heard that when a girl writes off the world/She does it in cursive”. Elsewhere, ‘Porter’ tackles another tough subject, examining patients in a mental institution through the eyes of its employees.
Unfortunately these moments are overshadowed by the more visceral approach taken with much of the album as Pip chooses bile over substance or style. RRR for the most part is jarring, uncomfortable and dripping with anger. However, you could argue on that basis that the record is a success, the duo have captured the cacophony of feelings that stem from a heavy break up and put them to tape, still raw and unchecked. Knowing though that they are capable of such eloquence and insight, it’s hard not to be a little disappointed.