Right this is the first review I've ever done so I apologise in advance if it's shit.
We all know about alternative hip hop duo Le Sac Vs Pip due to their brilliant single, Thou Shalt Always Kill that taught us that Godflesh/Jesu/Final/Techno Animal etc are just bands. The new album came out this time last week (or at least in the UK it did). I recieved it on the day of release so it's had a week to digest. I'm gonna do this track by track cos that's what I normally find most helpful in reviews.
1.) The Beat That My Heart Skipped - This was the second single but unlike the single version, it starts with a spoken word intro recorded at a gig in Amsterdam (go to www.fabchannel.com to watch the whole thing). It leads into the single track which makes clever use of samples with some tongue tying lyrics. Very catchy.
2. ) Development - Another track with sampled guitar, this time about Scroobius Pips development as a poet/rapper. Again, clever lyrics but this is standard across the whole album. Half way through the song the guitar is dumped for a more hip hop style electronic backing after a voice tells Scroobius that the second verse is 'straight garbage'
3.) Look For The Woman - One of my favourites on the album. It begins with Dan Le Sac singing with a piano backing then goes straight into a descending bassline which is present throughout most of the song. The song is about a couple who are still together but the spark is gone ('there's a weight over me, something I have to say, love you too much to leave, don't like you enough to stay') so it's quite a sad song although not the saddest on the album. Some nice piano and high pitched synths in here which contrast with the bassline.
4.) Rapper's Battle - Quite a lo-fi tune with some simple synth sounds with a hip hop drum beat behind it. The simple synth line then develops into chords later on and stays pretty much the same throughout most of the song. This song is an attack on modern hip hop and has some samples towards the end which at first are good but then it ends on a sample which is just plain annoying. Still a good track but one of the weaker ones.
5.) Tommy C - Begins with spoken word where Pip attacks the use of beauty in pop music. The rest of the song is pretty standard for Le Sac Vs. Pip with a bass line high in the mix and some hip hop drums. The lyrics are the story of Tommy Coopers death occassionally interspersed with Pip singing the chorus 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. Although the music isn't that interesting it's the lyrics that keep you listening and towards the end you can even ignore some of the small factual errors because of the passion Pip puts into his rapping 'Now please note, at the moment this entertainer died, even with a room full of people, not one tear was cried. Much less they rose to their feet and they laughed and they clapped, now tell me one fucking thing that's more beautiful than that'
6.) Fixed - Another one of my favourites. This song makes use of a sampled beat from Dizzee Rascal's 'Fix Up Look Sharp' This song is another attack on hip hop and is Le Sac Vs. Pip 'fixing hip hop as best we can'. After the intro there is a nice descending guitar line, again the musical backing is quite repetative but it changes enough the hold your attention but as with most of this album the focus is on the lyrics 'Hip hop is art, don't make another pop hit, be smart. Take it back to the start like KRS and Rakim use passion and heart' This is one of the more lively songs on the album with the drums getting quite fast towards the end when the chorus is repeated with some extra ascending synth lines which contrast nicely with the descending nature of the rest of the song.
7.) Angles - This is the title track (no shit) and as with most title tracks is brilliant. It begins with a Closer-esque drum beat and goes on to tell a story. In this song the backing is very very simple to emphasise the lyrics which need your complete attention to understand the story. These are some of the most clever lyrics on the album. They tell a story of one particular incident from the point of view from each person involved. Another depressing/angry poem from Scroobius Pip. The highlight is when they the texture thins out to emphasise the final lyrics 'As he approached me there was nothing to say, I stabbed that fucker eight times before they could take me away'
8.) Letter From God To Man - Another one which has been floating around the internet for a while. Nice use of a sample from Radiohead's Planet Telex which forms the main part of the backing track. Lyrically this track is about how fucked organised religion is (although not religion itself as Pip points out in interviews). As the song goes on Pip gets angrier and angrier until he shouts the final lyrical twist. The outro is a glitchy drum and bass ditty. I think the backing to that part is sampled from another Radiohead song but I'm not sure which one.
9.) The Magician's Assistant - The most depressing track on the album is a scathing attack on self harm. The backing is just a simple ascending synth line which is manipulated to fuck it up to reflect the nature of lyrics. As the lyrics gets angrier the synth gets more noisy and fucked up. Again Scroobius Pip puts a massive amount of passion into this 'If one day you can't rein it in, and of your last breath you are the only witness, then FUCK everybody else cos it's not something you've gotta live with!' Another highlight of the album.
10.) Back From Hell - This is a massive leap from Magician's Assistant. This song is quite upbeat with some cool sub bass and fast (for the album at least) drums. This is a pretty standard track with some good lyrics and delivery and some interesting stuff in the backing track. TO me this song is what Hadouken! are trying to do but failing miserably. God I hate Hadouken!.
11.) Thou Shalt Always Kill - I don't think I really need to say much on this. The vocals have been re recorded and the song has been slowed down ever so slightly but I don't think it's that noticeable. Lyrically it's still the same except for when he said 'oh err I lost my place' now he says 'why did we bother re recording these vocals?'
12.) Waiting For The Beat To Kick In - The final (listed) track on this album and in my opinion the best. The backing track is once again quite subdued to place emphasis on the vocals which tell a story teaching us about life and morals. All of which I agree with and have already tried to use in my life anyway before I heard the song. Another reason I like this track is how human Pip seems. Many rappers often seem to place themselves above normal people and can seem to be too preachy but Pip is definitely one of us. This track climaxes with a final bit of advice to bring us down to earth after all the morals taught earlier on in the song.
13.) Reading My Dreams - This is a secret track which begins 20 seconds or so after Waiting For The Beat To Kick In comes to a noisey close. This song in contrast is a very soft song with a sweet synth line complimenting a tired but happy vocal delivery. This song is about just lying with a loved one and not needing anything other than eachothers company. 'When our eyes meet like this and it's just like before, we both instantly realise; we need nothing more'
Overall I would give this an 8/10.The album takes you through a whole host of emotions; anger, sadness, euphoria and some good 'new fashioned fun' Both men are skilled at what they do particularly Scroobius Pip who is almost as good with words as Saul Williams. The only thing stopping this album from getting a 10/10 is that it gets a bit repetative after a while. Sure the lyrics and backing tracks can be complicated and clever but I feel some of the weaker songs, although good on their own bring the album down a bit because nothing really seperates them...
Hope that wasn't too rambley. Can you tell I'm not that great at music analysis?
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