2013 was another successful year for Camp Bestival with performances from the likes of The Proclaimers, Richard Hawley, Grandmaster Flash and Billy Bragg.
Richard Hawley plays one of his many splendid guitars.
Camp Bestival 2013 took over the weekend (August 2nd - 4th) at Lulworth Castle in Dorset last week, with some superb live headline and DJ sets each day.
It was an eclectic line-up of artists both legendary and newly emerging and ranging from the underground cult favourites to the more chartworthy pop stars. Richard Hawley, formerly of Britpop band Longpigs and Pulp, played an awesome headline set on day one with an array of different electric guitars. He shared the stage with 'I'm Gonne Be (500 Miles)' hitmakers The Proclaimers as well as reggae veteran Max Romeo, Manchester trio I Am Kloot and folk punk activist Billy Bragg.
By way of introduction to his latest release David Mead, a.k.a. Scroobius Pip, says 'I never read much poetry as a kid.' So it may seem strange that the boy with the stutter from Stanford Le Hope has seen destiny make the spoken word, and poetry, Pip's chosen field. There is no vinyl, disc or MP3 file (Or collaboration from is bedecked partner Dan Le Sac) involved here though. This is Pip's first, somewhat apprehensive, venture into the world of book publishing. Pip has at times struggled with the concept of publishing his poetry as he can rarely be found ready others. He had reservations along the lines of...'There's no poetry out there worth ME reading but YOU should definitely read mine.' Pip prefers to hear his fellow poets live at open mic nights, as long as they're reading their own compositions and not talking through his.
After escaping retail drudgery to pursue their mutual musical aspirations, Dan Le Sac (Dan Stephen's) and Scroobius Pip (David Mead) combined, in a once unlikely partnership, to produce a minor masterpiece. 'Angles', their first release as a couple, Pip having already put out a solo album, was a surprisingly fresh and witty collection of truly individual tracks.
The quality of their debut is such that any follow up is likely to be as difficult for both the artists and the listener. The subject matter, expression, attitude and humour imparted in such 'classic' tracks as 'Thou Shalt Always Kill', 'Letter From God To Man' and my personal favourite, 'Tommy C' helped give Angles a special character that lifted it out of mediocrity and saw it transcend its genre.
Upon hearing the first single from the new album I must admit to approaching 'Logic Of Chance' with some trepidation. Don't get me wrong, 'Get Better' is not a bad song, however it's not one of their best. It's a lot more radio friendly, not as raw and edgy and is a safer, more commercial, bet if you are looking at broadening your listener numbers. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you are not compromising the content or alienating your original following.
My nervous tension was almost immediately dissipated upon hearing the album's opening track 'Sick Tonight'. All was well in the world when the Essex boy began to work his delightfully distinctive magic. You almost instantaneously know that disappointment is not on the cards upon hearing Pip's first great one liner 'Trick the switch and get my brain to begin again, adrenaline and Benylin will get the cerebellum in a state to deliver life's time to be the medicine.'
The content of some difficult and disturbing topics and themes, intelligently addressed on Angles, have not been shied away from this time around either. 'Five Minutes', a potent and harrowing tale of domestic violence, has an all too realistic narrative set against some chilled out perfectly understated beats. As if immediately wanting to lift the spirit and change the mood, 'Cauliflower', brilliantly pairs up Pip's spoken word vocal and duets it with a chirpy female with a 'whatever' attitude and teasing lilt. The more mainstream electro beats and bleeps help maintain the lighter atmosphere through the story of their 3 day love story. 'Great Britain' with it's more hard-core, aggressive, soundtrack tackles the subject of knife crime without flinching from realities. Some fabulous Drum n' Bass touches compliment the 'in yer face' vocal delivery.
The album maintains momentum throughout. 'Stake A Claim', an almost anthemic 80's style dance remix, builds beautifully. Echoes of Josh Wink can be heard as the 'fit to burst' climax approaches. The Techno treatment continues on the ludicrously infectious 'The Beat'. Drum n' Bass returns for yet more carefully observed social commentary with the biting lyricism of 'Snob'. A brilliantly told story of a boys musical epiphany, replete with comedic cynisism...'Get out of here Pikey, appreciation on yer level seems less than likely'. Neither the musical or lyrical highs rarely dip at all during The Logic Of Chance. In covering a difficult subject with poignant lyrics, and setting it against a suitably apt soundscape, 'Cowboi', the closing number, encapsulates the essence of Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip rather well, and thus serves as a fitting end.
The technical wizardry and backing beats on Logic Of Chance cannot be underestimated, they do more than back the 'singer', they enhance the album. Undeniably though what makes Logic.., as well as its predecessor, is the supreme brilliance of the lyrics. To compliment Pip (and misquote John Cusack), he is somewhat loquacious, garrulous, verbose and chatty......and God bless him for that. A true wordsmith with verbal dexterity, Scroobius Pip is a national treasure. The Logic Of Chance demands to be heard and placed immediately on repeat.