Distraction Pieces – Scroobius Pip

If you have an awareness of Scroobius Pip, chances are you’re used to seeing his name tagged onto the end of the duo Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip. Most people will know him for the song Thou Shalt Always Kill, but there is a lot more to Scroobius Pip than this three and a half-minute moral code. After releasing two albums spitting his lyrics over beats made by Le Sac, Distraction Pieces is the first* solo outing for Pip. He’s made a rather bold move in that he’s released Distraction Pieces on his own label, Speech Development, which he has recently set up. A move that has definitely not backfired, with the album currently sitting pretty at number seven in the iTunes charts.

Now, when I think of Scroobius Pip I think of electronic beats, clever samples, passionate delivery and witty lyrics. How ever, a few weeks ago when Pip released the video for the first track on this album Introdiction I knew I was in for a surprise with this album. It seems that Pip’s liberation as a solo artist has caused him to draw on influences that seem a million miles away from those on his first two albums (Angles and The Logic of Chance). Rather than the electronic beats that were the overwhelming force on his outings with Dan Le Sac, Distraction Pieces draws on heavy guitar riffs, live drums that sound absolutely enormous on every track and grungy synth lines. In this sense the video for Introdiction set the tone perfectly for the album, it’s dark and atmospheric but also incredibly powerful. With drums from no less than Travis Barker, the track bursts into life and lives its life to the fullest. Also noteworthy on this track is the haunting backing vocals from super model/actress Milla Jovovich, it would seem that Scroob is remarkably well-connected.

The music accompanying Pip’s lyrics has immense vigour and really helps to create this consistent dark and angsty mood that really carries the album. However, as with all of Scroobius Pip’s album, the backing track are secondary to Pip’s lyrics. That’s not to say that they are second best, the musical work on these tracks is very impressive, but Pip’s verses take centre stage on every song and rightly so. His wordplay is excellent on this album; he uses imagery, internal rhyme and the juxtaposition of seemingly personal reflections and storytelling to get his point across. His delivery is indisputably passionate and it’s refreshing to hear somebody who actually cares about what they’re talking about. Although his passion can sometimes come across as a bit preachy, as though he has all the answers and we must know them. Saying this though, he clearly cares deeply about what he’s saying and he means it; so if his delivery comes across as slightly preachy at times I think that can be forgiven.

The album, as a whole, is difficult to pigeon-hole. It sounds like a rock album, it’ll probably be treated as a hip hop album but it’s not really either of these things, it’s more a spoken world album than anything. Though the fact I’m having difficulty to categorise it could potentially be seen as a positive thing. Pip is on form lyrically right throughout the album, his targets vast and varied from online bloggers (Death Of The Journalist) to new music (particularly Soulja Boy in Soldier Boy Kill ‘Em). The sheer vitality and vigour of every track is impressive and even when the album slows down and becomes more introspective, with tracks like Broken Promise, it still maintains this same level of exuberance.

For me, the album makes for a great listen. As a fan of Scroobius Pip’s work with Dan Le Sac I was excited to see what he’d do with his solo debut. I can safely say that it did not disappoint. It’s an exciting and interesting album to listen to and I sincerely recommend it. The thing about Scroobius Pip is that it is obvious his music comes from a place of honesty and reverence with a genuine love for what he does, something that is clearly the case on Distraction Pieces.

4.5/5.0

Joseph

*It turns out that this is the second solo outing for Scroobius Pip, I overlooked his album ‘No Commercial Breaks’ that he released himself way back in 2006. Thanks to @AaronShrimpton for pointing that out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think of the review, or of the album, by commenting below. You could also suggest something for me to review next week. 

If you enjoyed reading this then please tweet it, Facebook it, share it however you want. Thanks again.

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