Editor’s note: Ben and Luke both asked to review the new Dan Le Sac album so instead of assigning it to one, leaving the other empty-handed, I decided the best approach, given the close proximity of their humble abodes, was to lock them into a room together and hash out exactly what they thought about this album, examining each track one by one. Read on…
Two world-weary, casual music observers on a Tuesday night sojourn through the passage of irreverence into the clearing of inconclusiveness with just an album, a bottle of wine and an unplanned conversation…
Disclaimer: Expect facts to be few and far between.
‘Long Night of Life’ (feat. Merz)
Ben: Well, the intro’s a bit like Stomp…but, would you say this crosses the border into pop music?
Luke: He’s an electronic musician with vocals over the top.
Ben: My point is, how does that differentiate from the majority of music in the charts at the minute?
Luke: It’s basically something the Antlers would do, but the Antlers would do better.
Ben: There’s a lot on the album that could be done better by someone else.
Luke: He’s not going out there to set the world on fire. He’s gone one way and Scroobius Pip’s gone another. Dan Le Sac’s just thinks “Well, I should probably get something done too!”
Ben: I suppose that’ll be the litmus test of this album. How he stands up without Scroobius Pip.
‘Play Along’ (feat. Sarah Williams White)
Luke: It’s more jilted than ‘Development’. There’s a lot of skipping and heading back. But it’s more fluid than the stuff he was doing with Scroobius Pip.
Ben: This track’s a lot techier.
Luke: The singer’s kind of like Katy B.
Ben: It’s that faux-cockney thing where they always turn out to be from public school.
Luke: Exactly, like Jessie J did ‘Do it like a Dude’, and then it was like, ‘oh’.
Ben: Who else is there? Kate Nash, Lily Allen.
Luke: Who is now a riot girl? Lily Allen’s having babies.
Ben: And, she’s’ retired’ from the music business…
Luke: No one wants to buy pop off posh people anymore.
‘Memorial’ (feat. Emma-Lee Moss [Emmy the Great])
Luke: This is the one with Emmy the Great. She’s about on a par with how famous Dan is in these circles.
Ben: It’s got a kind of Arabic feel to it, this one. Or, maybe a bit of James Bond; like a James Bond porno theme. The love gun aiming… You could dance to this though.
Luke: You could sway to this; it’s bass heavy.
Ben: But heavy enough?
Luke: Not for me. It’s heavy for a pop track… If he didn’t have the vocal track, he could have been tempted to just put in a massive drop like everyone else. But, he’s kept it steady. Not like a lot of other artists who are just about the WOBWOBWOBWOB.
Ben: Do you think a dubstep artist would have done it better?
Luke: It reminds me of ‘Haunted’ by Digital Mystikz.
Ben: How would you stack this against it?
Luke: Probably Digital Mystikz. But, that’s because they’re dubstep artists.
Ben: That’s exactly my point. Should he try it if he’s not qualified?
Luke: It’s a different scene now. Dubstep’s more accessible to the public. When you’ve got the internet explorer advert with it on, then you know something’s changed.
Ben: There’s a risk of being jack of all trades and master of none.
Ben: Heavier start! A bit Pendulum-y.
Luke: It sounds a lot like Thunder by the Prodigy.
Ben: The Prodigy kind of picked up on the Pendulum thing when they came back.
Luke: It’s ‘Insomnia’ but worse. You could see Rammstein walking on stage to this.
Ben: You could see Rammstein walk off to this… heads down; going to cheer each other up in whatever way Rammstein do. Four on the floor… with Rammstein.
‘Tuning’ (feat. Joshua Idehen)
Luke: I quite like it.
Ben: It does have the odd profound moment, but you wonder if that’s accidental against the rest of it. “Often looking for my keys”?
Luke: Well, aren’t you often looking for your keys? It’s relatable!
Ben: … I have a place for my keys. I don’t spend much time looking, they’re always there.
Luke: I think this would be better if it was done with Roots Manuva as the vocalist.
Ben: I agree. So Roots Manuva could have done it better?
Luke: Dan Le Sac didn’t write the lyrics. But it’s quite a decent beat to get involved with.
Ben: … I’m certainly feeling involved.
Luke: It’s got a pumping beat.
Ben: But, where would you pump to it?
Luke: An early ’90s rave hole.
Ben: Maybe a 2012 interpretation video of a 90s rave hole.
Luke: It reminds me of Clouds’ ‘Mighty Eyeball Rays’.
Ben: The first bit had swagger. This is a bit stupid, a bit happy hardcore.
Luke: This you hear glow sticks, before you heard grimy basement.
Ben: And, I liked that basement, Luke. It wasn’t a Fritzl basement. It was more of a…. wine cellar.
‘Good Time Gang War’ (feat. B. Dolan)
Luke: It reminds me of Digits but it’s not too dissimilar to ’05 dubstep.
Ben: I think it’s more snare heavy, there’s no real beat to it.
Luke: It could be darker, it would be better if he’d made it dirtier.
Ben: It needs to go somewhere and so far it hasn’t.
Luke: The songs with vocals are stronger than those without. There’s a lot of “that’s good but you know someone else could do it better.” This album was never going to be a 10/10. For me it’s currently 6/10, there’s definitely more positives than negatives.
Ben: I think it’s a 5 so far, it’s nothing special. It’s more of a showcase than one thing done incredibly well. He had the opportunity to carve out a niche but he didn’t take advantage of his audience.
‘Hold Yourself Lightly’
Luke: There are a few songs I’ll listen to again, but it’s more of an album you’d stick on in the background than gather your mates round to, because there are not enough original hooks.
Ben: I think Dan Le Sac’s fans listen to it on their own.
‘Zephyr’ (feat. Merz)
Ben: It reminds me of ‘Egyptic’ by L-Wiz.
Luke: It reminds me of Gorillaz in a way. Not vocally but if there was more twinkle to it, it could easily have been on ‘Plastic Beach’. The vocals aren’t hooking me in, though.
‘Breathing Underwater’ (feat. Fraser Rowan)
Ben: It’s not as good as Metric‘s song of the same name.
Luke: A nice, hazy, chill-out tune. It reminds me of Renton in Trainspotting.
Ben: It reminds you of an overdose? I’m not sure that’s a symbol of a good album. It’s bit like New Order and A Flock of Seagulls. But, it’s got that techy edge and if you remove the glitchy overtones it’s pretty much Kraftwerk.
‘Break of Dawn’ (feat. HowAboutBeth)
Luke: It sounds like the intro to a slow ’90s pop track. Atomic Kitten will come out in a minute.
Ben: It sounds like a Japanese car advert.
Luke: I think it’s too interesting to be on an advert.
Ben: I can see a Subaru cruising past in the rain to this; slow motion. Maybe we could send it in to Top Gear, it’ll get Clarkson’s juices going.
Luke: I’m still sticking to my 6/10.
Ben: You can imagine leaving a club to this. There’s too much ‘leaving’ on this album, either leaving a stage or leaving a club.
Luke: This is when everyone has stopped dancing and they’re having a conversation but no-one wants to turn the music off. When you leave the dance floor to go to the bar, this is the song you’ll hear.
Ben: Everyone else has got their coats on. It’s that sort of music. The barman is staring into an empty pint glass.
Luke: The barman has called last orders and there’s a few people on the dance floor – that’s this song.
‘Caretaker’ (feat. B. Dolan)
Luke: It’s an intergalactic funeral march.
Ben: This track’s been better than the past few. This is people returning to the dance floor music.
Luke: Maybe, the album is a journey?
Ben: It’s a transitionary album!
Luke: If you’re going to spend 51 minutes at a disco, this is the album you need to put on. It will guide you through. It’s an aural map to your night out.
Ben: Split the album into two and have the first 25 minutes at the beginning of your evening and the second 25 minutes at the end.
Luke: This song has counterbalanced the three before that weren’t very interesting. Not in a harsh way but it was needed to pick the album back up again.
Ben: I feel like it’s a rush to the finish after the lull.
Ben: It sounds like a David Firth cartoon.
Luke: There’s a dead guy on the floor with no-one else around.
Ben: And a cat is being used as an uzi.
Luke: That’s when you know you’ve made it, when you’re the soundtrack to an internet cartoon.
Ben: It’s sort of a shame the last song ended. The album has been a very mixed bag.
‘Cherubs’ (feat. Pete Hefferan)
Ben: This last track has pretty much passed without incident.
Ben: Overall 5/10.
Luke: I’ll go 6/10. There’s more good bits than bad bits. There are hooks there and the vocals on some tracks are great.
Ben: He’s spread himself too thin. There are moments in it but it’s relatively forgettable.
Luke: There’s a few tracks there that stick with me.
Ben: The Wonga.com advert gets stuck in my head; that doesn’t mean it’s any good.
Dan Le Sac’s debut album ‘Space Between the Worlds’ is out now on Sunday Best (Rob da Bank’s label). You can stream it in its entirety below.