Ninja TuneThe Qemists got started, their record-label bio explains, when their three members ‘were playing in a rock band by day, and producing and DJing Drum ‘n’ Bass by night, which led to an inevitable conclusion: why not do both at the same time?’ Well, to be honest, there are lots of reasons. But most of them, for convenience’s sake, have been neatly packaged into this album.
Subtlety is not something that the Qemists are good at. The lead single from the album was ‘Lost Weekend’, a turn-of-the-millennium nu-metal workout with lyrics seemingly transcribed straight from the schoolbag of a nearby adolescent. ‘Got One Life’ is a drum-and-bass horror that not only samples a terrifically-hackneyed piece of classical music but also, mysteriously, namechecks affluent London suburb Stoke Newington, home to many an up-and-coming young marketing executive.
But the Qemists’ woes do not end there. ‘On The Run’, featuring the suspiciously generic-sounding Jenna G., is more ringtone than song and ‘When Ur Lonely’ is exactly as bad as it sounds; although if you needed a soundtrack to a computer game about snowboarding, several years ago, it would be ideal.
In the end, the best reason not to combine rock and drum-and-bass is probably that people already tried it, back around 1998. This album sounds about that old, and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the heap of modish, dubsteppy remixes which accompanied recent Wiley-vocalled single ‘Dem Na Like Me’ were commissioned by Ninja Tune mainly to lend the whole enterprise a veneer of relevance, in the hope that nobody would notice.