Review Summary: "You call that shit depression? I call it inspired."
2010’s “Logic of Chance”—the second effort from UK duo Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip—was met with vastly mixed reviews and seemed to show a pair of artists on two different musical wavelengths. Producer Dan Le Sac has always managed to contribute catchy beats and samples to every project he is involved in, improving ever so slightly every step of the way. Spoken word rapper Scroobius Pip’s lyrical delivery faltered on Logic of Chance, lacking the same quality and themes that made their debut “Angles” so memorable. Logic of Chance was a disappointing effort; it was sonically contrived, disjointed, and at times even cringe inducing.
Thankfully with their latest effort, “Repent Replenish Repeat,” Pip seems to have noted prior failures and “repents” with a darker, more cohesive effort. Where Logic of Chance seemed to lack the same passion in its message that Angles had, RRR is a return to a lyrical delivery that seems genuine. Pip’s anti-establishment rhetoric is nothing necessarily original or groundbreaking but his return to those themes gives the album a sense of direction that their last album lacked in spades. There is also a fair amount of post relationship angsty-ness on tracks like “Stunner” and “Terminal” which while not meshing well with the anti-establishment themes don’t detract too much considering the standout performances on both of these songs.
“Stunner” opens the album with the line: “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,” which sets the tone for the darker nature of this album. Listeners who heard Pip’s 2011 album “Distraction Pieces” will catch a definite influence of those sounds here. Darkness permeates through the samples and Pip’s lyrics are delivered with more venom and ferocity than we’ve seen him exude yet. “Terminal” serves as an album highlight and is undoubtedly the best offering here. It shows Pip fully returning to the spoken word delivery that he is known for. The story told is of two junkie lovers’ first ecstasy experience through the streets of London. There is a haunting honesty to it that sits with the listener long after the track has ended. All that said, Pip’s lyrical content still has a tendency to falter on tracks like “Stunner” where he says “Not saying your perfect but you’re really really good,” and on “Stiff Upper Lip” with lines like “But oh *** this isn’t just a Twitter campaign, we gonna take to the streets, the man will know our names.”
Le Sac, as always, is as on point as ever. His beats here are darker and more reflective of some of the more popular trap style aesthetics of today’s cultural underground. The industrial nature of his sampling compliments Pip’s vocals in a way that was sorely lacking on Logic of Chance. He takes the full spotlight on tracks like “Nightbus Sleepers” where we see him fully exert a grimey beat followed by a synth line that gives the song an infectious melody underlying Pip’s vocals. On spoken word tracks like “Terminal” and “You Will See Me,” he gives just enough subtle electronic tinges that highlight Pip’s words with a more inspirational platform for delivery.
While not quite on the same level as Angles, Repent Replenish Repeat is still a success, delivering a handful of standout tracks and showcasing stellar production. The duo doesn’t always mesh in the most successful of ways but when they do it certainly makes this album a worthwhile listen.