Tuesday, 11 May 2010

dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip: The Logic of Chance

Following up their excellent 2008 debut album, Angles, wasn't going to be easy. With The Logic of Chance they show that they are still up to the game, albeit slightly worn out from the first round.

Their second offering suffers in much the same way most movie sequels do. It lacks the punch of the first and ends up relying more on special effects at the expense of substance. The Logic of Chance is still a solid album, if not as hard-hitting as before.

Angles provided blistering social commentary and introspective narrative which unfortunately isn't quite matched this time around. 'Great Britain' is about the slowly decaying state of society in what was once a centre of culture and colonial power, now reduced to nothing but binge drinking and teenage knife fights caught on CCTV. Youth themes appear again in the memorable single 'Get Better', with Pip simply asking kids to stop knocking each other up and to get some education. It tries hard to be an inspirational song, and succeeds somewhat, though others may criticise Pip's preaching from the pulpit as a tad condescending. 'Stake A Claim', a catchy tune about one's rights in a democracy, is well-timed, with the UK election having just been held. This demonstrates Pip's ability not only to be timely, but to cover a wide range of ground, from telling stories to providing inspiration. However, over the course of the album one gets the impression Pip is becoming increasingly cynical about the state of his nation, as in 'Last Train Home', where he complains about drunks on the train who've pissed themselves.

dan le sac has changed his approach on this record, providing a spectrum from danceable to contemplative. He reaches out to genres as far apart as trance, drum n' bass and electro, and shows influence from RJD2 to Four Tet. In 'Cauliflower', le sac showcases an almost videogame vibe, using quirky female vocals provided by Kid A. The tunes do fall flat on occasion, as demonstrated with 'Snob', where Pip tries his best to make himself heard above an awkward old-school backing track. Despite the bumps along the way they make a good duo, le sac seeming to understand what brings out the colour in Pip's lyrics, and Pip able to weave rhymes above a variety of genres. This keeps the album interesting, if somewhat chaotic. Some sense of album-wide cohesion would have perhaps enhanced Pip's storytelling ability, though most of the tracks manage to stand up on their own.

The Logic of Chance is a necessary stepping stone to greater things. If they keep up this momentum, who knows where they'll be in a couple of years. The only worry is that commercialism and mass appeal will tempt the duo to dilute the mix in order to please the populace. This is unlikely given their current appeal is based on their underground and underdog nature, though there is no doubt the temptation to conform is there.

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