Remember when you were a child and your friend’s brothers and sisters used to get presents on their sibling’s birthdays so they didn’t feel left out, cry, and generally force everyone else to have a horrible time? Well it seems experiences like that deeply affected Scroobius Pip, because he’s taken to giving his fans presents on his birthday. Utter Madness. This year, in gift terms, he’s released what is to Pip fans the equivalent of a pony to a seven year old girl; the first Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip single for nearly four years, available for free download from their website. Even before listening to the song, this kind of explains why Le Sac vs Pip have the fan base they do; there’s no catch, you don’t have to sign up to a mailing list, you don’t have to “like” and “share” a photo, you simply go onto their website and click “download”. Taking that with a quick flick through their Facebook and Twitter (Dan Le Sac/Scroobius Pip) feeds (where they respond to the majority of fans’ messages directly), and you’ll start to see how these guys have built up such a large following. All that, and we haven’t even got to the music yet.
You could be forgiven for expecting a track entitled ‘Stunner’ to be light hearted. I did, and I was wrong. Extremely wrong. On the surface, it’s a break up song, yet it makes no attempt to portray its first-person protagonist (presumably Pip himself) in any kind of favourable light. ‘Stunner’ takes the end-of-a-relationship trichotomy of rage, love and regret, and puts it in a blender. The lyrical milkshake of raw human emotion that results is incredibly uncomfortable to listen to, and for that reason alone, it’s brilliant. Shouldn’t all break up songs be uncomfortable, in as much as they embody human beings at their worst? Yet through the underlying darkness, glimpses of the trademark Pip humour sneak through. “Love, it’s a weird thing ain’t it? You’re fucking right it is” subverts the opening of ‘Look For the Woman’, and “You’re just a sheep in a wolf in sheep’s clothing’s clothing” is one of the best lines from the Mark Grist rap battles. This re-usage of lines obviously isn’t accidental; Pip is back-referencing his own lyrics as if they’re moments from a relationship that the break up has forced him to see from a different perspective.
Finally, we come to Le Sac’s beat, which, far from feeling like an afterthought to a spoken word piece, encompasses exactly the same emotional state as the lyrics. It’s as if someone’s tried to force far too many sounds into one place, and the resulting noise would make Kate Moss look clean. It’s far less straight-forward than anything that’s come before on a Le Sac vs Pip track, yet it comprises a large part of what makes ‘Stunner’ so powerful. Take this in conjunction with unnerving one-take-style video set in some kind of stripped out sex dungeon, and you’ve got a portrait of the darker side of human relationships. It’s hardly a feel good summer hit, yet as a portrait, I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s really really good.