Every time Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip release a new album I go through the exact same emotions: yeah, I’m excited but no way will it be as good as the last. When 2010’s Logic of Chance rolled around I was convinced that no track could ever be as good as Letter from God to Man, and they hit me with Snobs. Until the first new track was released in August I was living under the impression that Inert Explosions was the height of their musical career, and then the brilliance that is Stunner happened. It was followed, just over a month later, with the equally brilliant (and funny to boot) Gold Teeth and, as of last Monday, the whole album finally dropped and on it, well, might just be my new favourite. I have yet to decide just which is to take top billing as my favourite song of 2013, so while I wrestle with the decision sit back and enjoy my own unique love letter to the genii of British underground spoken word/hip-hop, Messieurs Le Sac and Pip.
Musically, Repent Replenish Repeat is heavier than either Angles or Logic of Chance, reflecting both the current trend in the music scene and the coming together of both their solo careers since 2010. Samples of Dizzee Rascal, Radiohead and Amy Winehouse are replaced by darker beats and, at times, an almost drum & bass feel. Where Dan’s sounds have developed, however, the themes of Pip’s lyrics remain very in keeping with the first two albums. Heartbreak, suicide, the vacuous nature of the modern world and public transport are all covered in ear splittingly good rhymes that generally take more than one listen to tease out the deeper meanings.
As always there is one song that makes you think “Sorry, what?”, and on Repent Replenish Repeat that track is Porter, which may or may not be about kidnapping kids (I haven’t quite worked it out yet). At the heart of it though, Repent Replenish Repeat follows the same ethos Dan and Pip have stuck to since they exploded into the underground with Thou Shalt Always Kill. An obscure, hip-hop duo release some brilliant (and at times just plain weird) music on an independent label before quietly sitting back, to watch their creation climb the pop charts to beat the establishment over the head with their success. Seriously though, as of Sunday’s (October 13th) top 40 chart, Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip sit at number 22 - but you try to buy it in your local HMV.
Now, you’ve probably got this far through my review-come-ode and realised that I am just basically talking about some hip-hop album. And, let’s be fair, there have been some pretty massive hip-hop albums released in the last year, all of which you will have heard of, while Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip have most likely passed the majority of people by. But Repent Replenish Repeat, and, for that matter, every other release by Dan and Pip (whether as a duo or solo) manages to do something that no other hip-hop album can boast of: it actually makes people think. The majority of rappers will throw together an album comprised of a handful of actually quite thought-provoking lyrics interspersed between copious uses of derogatory language and a lot of sweary, confusing rubbish (for proof, just look at Kanye West trying to rhyme massage, restaurant and croissant). Of course Dan and Pip slip in the odd curveball lyric:
If luck be a lady tonight then baby I’m all about the dick.
This will not be featuring as my quote of the day, but these moments are in the minority. You’re more likely to be struck by a brilliant line from Stunner than left indifferent by a penis comment. In Repent Replenish Repeat, Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip prove that the music scene isn’t quite dead yet - if only more people could take a leaf out of their book and say something that isn’t a sexual innuendo once in a while.