Music: Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip * * * *
The Logic of Chance (Sunday Best)
"Sometimes Great Britain isn't all that great." It's a succinct line that best sums up the lyrical content on this second album from the Essex rap duo, and it's delivered by David Meads -- aka Scroobius Pip -- in the scabrous track Great Britain.
The Logic of Chance paints a brutal picture of our nearest neighbour in 2010, a country awash with knife crime, alcohol abuse, petty acts of violence, institutional cover-ups and governmental ineptitude. Actually, that sounds very much like the Ireland of today, too, and were it not for the geographical references and Pip's Estuary English, these 11 tracks could have been inspired by modern Irish life. There's a market for such music -- Jinx Lennon aside, I can't think of any local musicians who offer a jaundiced look at our green isle.
Of course, an album of politicised polemics could get very tedious, very quickly in the wrong hands. Conscience hip-hop, after all, can be terribly worthy, but worthiness is not something that afflicts Dan Stephens (Dan Le Sac) and his buddy.
The pair are highly opinionated, but they're also very funny and there's a playful quality to many of the hip-hop-meets-electronica tracks here, which means the listener rarely feels they're being lectured to.
Take Get Better: essentially a paean to contraception, it finds Pip offering life coaching to teens who "confuse love at first sight with lust at first light". One can sense his pains not to appear dogmatic as he speaks the following words over a nursery rhyme-like beat: "Imagine a song that really reached out and touched kids, and not in a Daily Mail way -- innocence corrupted -- but in a way where criticism remained constructive and wasn't too politicised and children weren't instructed to behave in a way that was unrealistic or made out the way they lived was somehow sick and twisted."
What emerges is a life-affirming, carpe diem anthem to appeal to anybody who loved the vocal dexterity and musical chops of The Streets' first two albums.
Le Sac's beats come thick but not so fast and beautifully complement Pip's street poetry. From the call to arms urgency of Democracy (Stake A Claim) to the sense of fear engendered in Last Train Home and the lovelorn tenderness of Cauliflower, the pair have delivered an eclectic collection that enhances a reputation first earned with the 2007 single Thou Shalt Always Kill.
Burn it: Get Better; Great Britain