Friday, 12 February 2010

The James Clever Quintet – Ten Stages Of A Make Up [Ondryland]

The Eastbourne based quintet make a frantic, catchy and slightly unhinged hardcore-punk hybrid that oozes energy as well as ideas, but most importantly they’ve got the tunes too: ‘Ten Stages Of A Make Up’ is their debut release despite playing live together for several years and it’s a quality six track ride through the JCQ sound. This EP just rock’s they nail down a hardcore sound that fits somewhere between frantic, energetic hooky rock and spazz-out, space-case jam sessions.

The six tracker kicks off with a track that just rolls off the toung, ‘I Do, You Do, We do Voodoo’ with riffs and high-hats blazing into a fizzy broth of sound: They’ll get your head nodding, when the vocals start matching the riffs word for chord and the drums propel you into the pit, wind-milling that guy’s pint into oblivion… If I was an idiot I’d say that this lot are like an unhinged, less blazed, more on edge Queens Of The Stone Age that grew up in the UK on a steady diet of Hardcore rather than learning how to roll a fat one. Track two, ‘Throne To The Lines’ thrashes the living shit out of you with barbed guitar strings and spaced out post-punk like overtones that ring out like beacons through the frantic riffs. This lot keep it tight and hooky, harnessing their ideas into a rock soup that really straggles the edge between experimental hardcore and full on rock prowess, I’m already salivating at the idea of catching them live... As I’m more a master of sound rather than lyrics, I’m missing the all-important words and they come think and fast with plenty of hooks to shout along too, I’m just shit at picking them up, if I reviewed an acapela album I’d be on about the breaths and pauses, man... ‘Pink & Blues’ gets more spaced out, utilising a funky rock groove that gets the rim shots firing and bass doing a workout, and even an organ.

‘The Shame’ gets unleashed like a madman that only gets rained in by vocal hooks (I dunno, like a sheep dog whistle? But with vocal hooks?). They really don’t let up it just keeps coming heavy. The spaced out fuzz rock of ‘TNT’ keeps the adrenalin going before going clown shoes like a Balkan, and doing a circus punk skank into the final track, ‘Coming Of Age’. Which gives you a rest-bite with space age synth-scapes that sound like they’re from a long lost scene of A Clockwork Orange, if the soundtrack happened to be played by a mad hardcore band from Eastbourne. Frantic drum hits and riffs as heavy as trucks (including driver and Ginster’s pasties…) build to a crescendo and let loose before the creepy as hell horror show; I’ve just walked into the hillbilly local shop and run out of petrol, late at night with a killer on the loose… distorted steel guitar record plays out and I see a blade shine off the old gas lamp…

‘Wasn’t that lovely?’

The James Clever Quintet make an interesting racket that will take you on its journey through brutal riffing and relentless hooks with ease. Their sound is kind of addictive; the energy keeps you coming back for more.

Catch them on tour with Blakfish, dates on the Myspace.




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