Let me get the versus issue out of the way from the get go. There is only one winner in the battle between Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip... And it is most certainly Master Pip. A poetic soul, an inquisitive inclination, an ear for a punchline. A discourse encompassing the evils of warfare, the hypocrisies of the NME brigade, and lurve. Impressive, no? Do not misunderstand me, Dan Le Sac is an artist of no little talent. However, would he ever have permeated the indie consciousness to such an extent without his able MC at his side?
The lyrical agility of Scroobius Pip is something to behold. Whilst he may not be the finished article in terms of flow, his keen intelligence more than makes up for this minuscule grievance. He tears the zeitgeist asunder on breakthrough hit "Thou Shalt Always Kill", hilariously underlining the many inanities of our very particular generation. A quote would be redundant at this stage, surely. He is prepared to examine the deeper issues too. Self-harm and alienation on "Magician's Assistant": "But then... what about me? / What kind of boyfriend am I? / Instead of living a life I was a big part of, you would rather die. / Instead of fighting through together and turning things around / You decided the grass was greener on the other side of the ground." "Reading My Dreams" is an exercise in subtle love poetry, an album closer of touching beauty and fragility: "I adjust to rest upon her sweet breast / And on her torso more so / In each others arms and with interlocked hands / Lay two smiling faces and one set of plans." And we return to the humorous once again, with this snippet from "Rapper's Battle", one of many examples of Pip's way with a punchline: "You can hear her every word, you would still never know me / Like Sean Penn could win 10 Oscars but he'll still be Spicoli."
There are moments of brilliance on this album during which the skills of both artists operate in dexterous and harmonious union... The thundering exclamation of Le Sac's beat on "Thou Shalt Always Kill" is the perfect foil to the urgency of Pip's proclamations. Le Sac's staccato composition on "Angles" deftly reinforces the uncomfortable lyrical narrative. Unfortunately it is not consistently so. There is a messiness to Dizzie Rascal nod "Fixed" that weakens Pip's sarcastic tirade. A confused pity. "Rapper's Battle" is a few edits away from a complete tune, Pip's vocals oscillating wildly throughout the mix. And whilst "Letter From God To Man" is quite the indie/liberal anthem, it would have benefited from slightly less noodling. Only slightly.
Angles is not perfect. There are flaws. However, these can and should be ignored. For this album is imbued with a freshness and urgency that leaves many contemporaries in its wake, be they within the realm of hip-hop or otherwise. Via the dexterity of Scroobius Pip the listener can be transported to a unique oasis of wit and inarguable potential. Once there the body pops are enabled by Monsieur Le Sac. Really, what more could one ask from a debut? They are, after all, just a band.