From the man who, on Facebook, recently described ‘full-on transformer rape’ as an ‘oddly appealing’ sound, comes Space Between the Words, the first solo LP from oft-overlooked, but wholly fantastic DJ Dan le Sac. Whilst his regular other half, Scroobius Pip is off collaborating with Blink-182 drummers and world class movie stars, le Sac opts for a subtle, yet unashamedly poppy house album, that comes across at times as the aforementioned transformer’s equivalent of Barry White, slyly piped into many an autobot’s garage.
Signature almost 8-bit sound intact, Space Between the Words comes across immediately as a beautifully crafted collection, each track brimming with unique atmosphere and character – you won’t find the album repeating its steps anywhere in its thirteen tracks, yet the album still maintains a consistent identity, flowing beautifully throughout the whole experience. From the understated, rhythmic pop nugget opener Long Night of Life, through to melancholy pseudo-closer Beside, were it not for the near-flawless flow between every track on the album, one criticism would be that the album makes the mistake often fatal to great albums: placing the most obvious singles (In this case, Long Night of Life, and lead single Play Along) right at the front of the album. Though that isn’t to imply the album is top-heavy, there is plenty on offer throughout, but we can’t help but feel it would be far too easy to stick down the ‘repeat’ button on those two euphoric opening tracks, were we not already aware of what else was in store. However, one real annoyance is the placement of the wonderful cover of Arab Strap’s Cherubs – after Beside ends the album so nicely, it would have benefitted from an earlier place amongst the album.
The whole album smacks of a creative, finally being given real room to breathe and grow into his own sound. Whilst it is certainly a logical growth from the backing tracks to Scroobius Pip’s socially conscious rhymes (which le Sac doesn’t quite seem able to let go of, as evidenced by his two collaborations here with the brilliant B. Dolan, including the aggressive party-stomp Good Time Gang War), there are twinges of experimentation by the bucket load, from the fairly obvious inspirations from Massive Attack and some Radiohead, to acts such as Bloc Party (chiefly seen on brief guitar-driven track Reprisals), whilst Zephyr feels like a weird hybrid of Foster the People, and slam poet supreme Sage Francis’ Sea Lion.
Laden with hooky, interesting tracks, intriguing collaborations, and a great sense of an artist having fun on his own terms, Space Between the Words will hopefully garner the same success and adulation as le Sac’s work with a certain bearded counterpart.
Standout Track: Long Night of Life
For Fans of: Massive Attack, Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
Written by: Josh Fearnley