ALBUM: The James Cleaver Quintet – Mechanical Young

Release Date: June 17th, 2013
Label: Hassle Records


It’s hard to imagine picking up an album that is loaded with a complete mess of tracks that don’t blend, merge, or appreciate each other, and enjoying it perfectly well. Well, sometimes music enjoys throwing curveballs like that, and it appears that The James Cleaver Quintet (now known as The JCQ) have found themselves on the right side of fortune with their new full-length record, ‘Mechanical Young’.

With an abundance of varied sounding tracks ranging from subtle distortion guitar lead ‘Ghost Diffuse’, dance-floor filling ‘Loves No Good’, to the thunderous drum fills of ‘No Kind Of Man, Pt. 1’, it becomes evident that The JCQ may have approached this record with no precaution. The reckless development track-by-track develops a body of work which comes across with a fragmented continuity but, in layman’s terms, this ‘fragmented continuity’ bloody well works.

Although ‘Mechanical Young’ may find itself on the right side of fortune with the gelling of the track-by-track value, the quality of musicianship and songwriting development is by no means fortunate. With a vocal range in akin to that of Glassjaw‘s own Daryl Palumbo, The JCQ have a relentless arsenal of choruses that will satisfy even the most brutishly stubborn of music critics. This is instantly prevalent from the storming opening of ‘Ghost Diffuse’, right the way down to the groove driven ending track, ‘Ruin Age’. There is no escape.

After all the relentless chaos of digesting an influx of intense bass lines, galloping drum output, instantaneously familiar choruses and the odd synthesiser section, this writer would usually slap a genre on the record and move onto the next one. But, unfortunately, that’s still an issue. The JCQ have themselves already disregarded a genre offer via their Facebook page, bluntly replying “no thank you” to the offer of describing themselves. Therefore, the genre of this particular record will be left to the imagination.

‘Mechanical Young’ offers more than initially meets the eye, or the ear in this case. Without doubt, in the wrong hands, an inconsistent record can crash and burn, leaving any band liable to be panned. However, The JCQ have struck gold here and it’s a refreshing strike indeed. Supplying the masses with a undeniably reckless amount of subtle genre crashes music-wise, The JCQ offer a record that satisfies, unleashes itself and leaves the listener contemplating how many more times the replay button can be hit before it wears away, hoping infinite is a reasonable suggestion.

Written by Calv Robinson