Dan Le SacFor those of you who don’t know, Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip (or dlsvsSP, as I will incorrectly refer to them) are a pair of lads from Essex, who collaborate to make some form of urban.

The ignorance at the end of the last sentence is only partly feigned, though there is enough spoken word and hollering about Scroobius Pip’s vocals to put it in the realm of hip-hop, and not enough drum or bass in Dan le Sac’s music to put it in the realms of garage. The resulting mash isn’t one thing or another; it’s as peerless as The Streets, and nothing like The Streets.

It’s not very accessible to the uninitiated, but it’s definitely worth getting over the superficial barriers to delve into the depths of the content that this pair have assembled. It’s the kind of music that you only get away with making if you make it with ruthless integrity, deep thought and give a free sample of genuine emotion and thought provocation. A lot of the sound of Repent, Replenish, Repeat is pretty grimey, but some tracks are very firmly in the realm of the cinematic – sonic backdrops – musical enhancement to stories spun in spoken word, rhymes elusive, prose effusive.

At times, it’s pretty dark. If you wanted to get a feel for the flip side of the London that the adverts, the glossy estate agents’ brochures and films like Love Actually show you, then even without understanding the words, this is a pretty good start. It’s monotonous, it’s neon lights at night, it’s car journeys under sodium lamps. It’s grey, although the backing for ‘Gold Teeth’ and ‘You Will See Me’ provide the rule-proving tuneful, dynamic exceptions.

That’s not at all to say that the pair have broken their own commandment, from 2006 debut Thou Shalt Always Kill “Thou shalt not make repetitive generic music” – there’s nothing generic about this repetitive music, and the lyrics never cease in their originality. I can’t let the review go without quoting one of my favourites: “Like a sheep in a wolf in sheep’s clothing’s clothing”.

This is music made by people who have taken the time to try to tell us something – not always necessarily something meaningful or important – just something genuine. At times it’s confrontational (‘Stiff Upper Lip’), at times it’s positive (‘Nightbus Sleepers’), but there is a clear support for the underdog,  an entrenched anti-establishment bias and a big dose of thought-provoking perceptiveness.

‘Porter’, an instantly likeable track, and my personal recommendation, is a song about the cast of Alan Moore and Melinde Gebbie’s graphic novel fantasy Lost Girls (whether this is deliberate or coincidental is not clear, although the line about “drinking from the wrong side of the chalice” is a good hint that it is). The song is written with a huge amount of care and attention to detail, and with a subtlety of poetry that is very easy to miss amidst the lyrical technique and delicacy of the gradual crescendo of the backing track.

‘Stiff Upper Lip’ (featuring Itch) is a song that fits in a big empty niche that by accident or design is no longer catered for in the music we hear – an anti-establishment call to arms that just says “break stuff”. It is also laden with the more up-to-the minute references on an album which doesn’t shy from being overtly contemporary, with references to Twitter, twerking and Facebook groups, but Pip throws in a good few diverse references on Repent Replenish Repeat – from Roots Manuva to Rudyard Kipling, from Guys and Dolls to Smokey Robinson.

There’s a lot of post-relationship angst on Repent Replenish Repeat, and there are fairly unoriginal themes behind a few of the songs (‘You Will See Me, Stunner’), but I don’t like this album because nobody’s done it before – but because nobody’s done it like this.

Although I know it’s not entirely a new thing, it’s nice to hear British music has evolved to the point where it sounds like Britain. Our hip hop artists unashamedly say “parf” in reference to the thing that leads from your front door to the street – and yes, this is just a part of the ongoing development of our music with new artists constantly finding their voice, but it’s nice when that voice isn’t putting on an American accent; it’s nice when it genuinely and articulately represents something other than the mainstream view, or the sanctioned mainstream alternative view.

9-out-of-11

Release Date 07/10/2013 (Sunday Best)

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I've been playing bass guitar and guitar for over half my life. I last played bass in in a band called Electromotive and as a singer-songwriter I have written songs about cheese and vajazzles (separate songs!). I started out listening to 60s, 70s and 80s rock as a kid and I was in to grunge and U.S. punk and ska in the 90s. Since then, I've broadened my tastes and I like the best of all styles of music, even country. I've been writing for Silent Radio since it started.