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The Qemists Join The Q Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

A good amount of Join The Q wreaking havoc on the right crowd.

Louis Pattison 2009

Thanks to all-conquering Australian stadium dance outfit Pendulum, the spheres of drum 'n' bass and rock 'n' roll have never been closer. This is good news for The Qemists, three UK musicians lured away from their initial callings of guitar, bass and drums by the jump-up appeal of party drum 'n' bass. And while it might not be quite such good news for d 'n' b purists, who are probably getting a little tired of seeing the complexities of their beloved genre steamrollered into headbang-friendly rave rock that's every bit as subtle as a fretboard in the face, it's hard to deny Join The Q achieves a pretty impressive, rollercoaster-like momentum.

Within a deceptively simple framework of hard rock and hard beats, however, The Qemists give themselves a fair amount of room to manoeuver, inviting in a strong and varied line-up of guest vocalists and skidding through diverse genres without ever applying the brakes. The propulsive, metal-tinged Lost Weekend finds Faith No More/Fantomas frontman Mike Patton at the wheel, his wicked croon distorted by a string of effects, while S.W.A.G begins as syrupy trip-hop, sung by Alabama 3's Zoe Devlin Love, but soon picks up on tumbling drums, pneumatic bass and stabs of evil acid synth.

Not all of it works, mind. Dem Na Like Me, featuring a cameo from Wiley, is a highlight on paper, but the London grime MC sounds awkward on such stiff beats, and it doesn't help that he's recycling lines from earlier freestyles. Sometimes, too, the relative scarcity of subtlety or quiet-loud dynamics risks leaving even the most seasoned dancefloor warrior longing for the brief respite of the chill-out room. Still, it's easy to imagine a good amount of Join The Q wreaking havoc on the right crowd, and fans of Pendulum should check this out without delay.

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