Qemists - Join The Q (Ninja Tune)
were the first act to force the seemingly stubborn genre
of drum and bass to crossover into the mainstream and garner
themselves some success. But at what cost? The scene they
took their inspiration from has largely turned its back
on them and shrugged its shoulders at their commercial achievements.
By some they are now regarded as nothing but a watered down,
mainstream, indie-influenced cop-out that is dismissed as
what has all of this got to do with Ninja Tune's latest
signings, The Qemists? Well, everything and nothing. The
Qemists do come from the same drum and bass stable and their
larger than life beats and breaks and rock influences may
upset some of the D&B connoisseurs just as Pendulum
do, but there's more substance and energy to the Brighton-based
trio than their contemporaries have shown in a long time.
no sense that they have just decided to dilute a style so
it's easier to flog. Much of the album is as uncompromising
as the most credible of drum and bass acts but the difference
is The Qemist's music isn't completely dark and moody, there's
an element of enjoyment and fun lurking in there too.
may come as a surprise when you see that Mike Patton from
Faith No More and grime superstar Wylie
are guesting on Lost Weekend and Dem Na Like Me respectively,
but while this isn't an album of 'clown step', it's not
one for the brigade of overly serious, moody, chin-stroking
heads that D&B sometimes attracts either.
could form the album's downfall: not accessible enough to
appeal to Pendulum's more pop-oriented crowd and too much
fun for anyone who wants to stand in the corner of a nightclub
with a frown on. But if you take Join The Q on its own musical
merits alone, you'll discover an album that's mostly in
your face and full of raucous energy but also betrays the
attention to detail The Qemists have clearly put into every
the off the album is all about intensity, with the wailing
sirens and pumped up guitar thrashing of Stompbox flying
off into a full on, growling D&B rock out. Lost Weekend,
another highlight, follows in a similar vein, building up
into a jump around shouted 'chorus' from Patton.
little let up throughout, aside from the brooding intro
to S.W.A.G which eventually shows both the soulful side
and the attitude of vocalist Jenna G. Early single and album
standout Drop Audio probably encapsulates The Qemists' rock
and dance mix best as it shifts tempo to allow the beats
to rain down. If the bombardment of your senses this music
offers doesn't even mildly excite you, you really should
get that pulse checked.
people can just drop their preconceptions of what drum and
bass should be - both the Pendulum popsters and the D&B
hardcore - then there could just be a niche for The Qemists
to slot into very nicely.