By Dave Beech
September 30, 2013
“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”. And just like that, the tone for glitch-hop duo dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip‘s third album, Repent Replenish Repeat, is set. Darker, heavier, angrier than previous albums it’s clear that the brief break both Dan and Pip took to focus on solo projects, has reignited the spark within them that hasn’t been seen since 2008′s Angles.
The previously released ‘Stunner’ kicks off the proceedings rather viciously, throwing listeners immediately in to a foray of industrial electronic percussion before Pip kicks in with perhaps some of his most vehement lyricism yet. Bringing his own darkly humorous scorn down on a former lover, ‘Stunner’ features some fantastic examples of his penmanship and seemingly effortless flow. Lyrics such “Seems the light at the end of the tunnel was a fire” or the destined for the back of t-shirts “You’re just a sheep in a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing’s clothing” prove just how far Scroobius Pip has come in the last six years.
Whilst Repent Replenish Repeat builds on the more heavier elements introduced in 2010′s The Logic of Chance, it isn’t without it’s softer edges akin to Pip’s spoken-word roots, the best of these coming early on in the form of ‘Terminal’. A moving yet ultimately uplifting and romantic track, it’s a first-person narrative which tells the story of two nameless protagonists, one of which is terminally ill, who spend an evening together under the influence of ecstasy. The production that backs the narrative compliments it perfectly, allowing Pip to paint on a canvas of understated yet pulsating synth and strings, that builds as the song reaches it’s emphatic conclusion. It’s a rare moment of candour in an album full of pounding percussion and dubstep production, and one that offsets the pace of the album brilliantly.
If dubstep permeates the first half of the album, by track six ‘Gold Teeth’ the cracks in which it flowed have become canyons as Circus Records’ Flux Pavillion joins dan in the production department; it’s a solid track, but one which just misses the benchmark set by earlier tracks whereas an appearance by Itch of The King Blues fame in ‘Stiff Upper Lip’ fares much better than the aforementioned.
Repent Replenish Repeat really does exhibit a much darker, aggressive side to the duo than previously suggested on other releases. The Logic of Chance hinted at a sense of angst and anger within Pip’s writing, whilst his solo effort Distraction Pieces built on it further, however it hasn’t been until Repent… that it really seemed to reveal itself. It’s a passionate album too, with the lyrical intensity only occasionally being offset by rare moments of introspection and candour. Having one or two moments of debatable whimsy on their last album (‘Cauliflower’, ‘Cowboi’) it’s refreshing to see a thoroughly more mature approach to their song-writing, and one which, once again, cements Scroobius Pip as one of our generations greatest word-smiths.