Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip

  • Angles [Strange Famous, 2008] A-
  • The Logic of Chance [Sunday Best, 2010] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Angles [Strange Famous, 2008]
Declares big-bearded performance poet Pip: "I ain't riding the beat, it's the beat that's riding me." Take it or leave it. But Pip and his beatmaking partner, both denizens in good standing of London's working-class suburbs and record-store culture, are certainly more musical than the Streets, arguably more musical than Dizzee Rascal, and stick Art Brut in there too. As U.K. electro goes, they're varied stylistically and open-minded about hooks, and Pip's articulated Cockney has a lilt. More rhetorician than storyteller--most momentously on the bandname-checking Brit sensation "Thou Shalt Always Kill"--he distinguishes himself from yer average pop philosopher by having something to say. Try the suicide advisory "Magician's Assistant." Or "Letter From God to Man," which makes the Big Fella a "curator" rather than a "creator." Or "Tommy C," a definition of beauty that tells a comedian's life story, philosophically. A-

The Logic of Chance [Sunday Best, 2010]
Pip's as unapologetic about being a self-conscious artist as he is about being a words-first artist, so he begins with a recitation on the unpromising subject of writer's block that becomes genuinely rousing as the words build momentum willy-nilly. There's also a chorus for kids consisting entirely of the words "get better." And there's "The Beat": "This one ain't about the words the words the words the words." As well it shouldn't be: Just because Dan le Sac knows where his synths and samples belong doesn't mean he isn't an equal partner. Great Britain doesn't make "the best music in the world," you silly beardo. But A Tribe Called Quest should be proud they got you going. A-