UK-based live drum and bass trio, The Qemists made some waves with their hard-hitting debut album last year, Join the Q. Now they release their second album, Spirit In The System, another guest-appearance-filled album that blurs the borders between rock, electronica, and hip hop.
The album’s lead single “Your Revolution” features Matt Rose. The track’s galloping drums and thumping sub-bass reminds me of The Chemical Brothers‘ “Block Rockin’ Beats”. What should make the track is Matt Rose’s vocals, but his vocals do not add anymore to the track than standard 90s alternative melodramatic vocals.
When the Qemists really succeed are the tracks that mix hip hop and their bordering-on-industrial sound. “Renegade” which features grimeman Maxsta is one of the most solid tracks on the album. With the overlap between grime, electro, and 2-step often getting blurred, the track works into the hand of both artists. The track reminds of the collaboration between Dizzee Rascal and Armand Van Helden, except less commercial sounding.
Unfortunately, there are not too many hip hop-tinged songs on the album which kind of leaves it moored in mediocrity. It delivers heavy dance beats but not too many of the guest vocalists deliver memorable performances which is a shame because with some of the big names on the album, I expected more.