The James Cleaver Quintet - That Was Then, This Is Now
You’ve probably seen The James Cleaver Quintet already without even knowing, rolling down the hills of Brighton kicking out a cover of Feeder's ‘Buck Rogers’ on a Lucozade advert. That rendition does nothing to prepare listeners for the spunky, hook-filled schizo-punk of their debut album That Was Then, This Is Now. The unstoppable anthem that is ‘Think Or Swim’ is a brilliant encapsulation of everything the band do great, with juddering, spiky riffs, an epic chorus and even a little horror-movie organ in the background.
Bringing in some bewildering technicality reminiscent of The Fall Of Troy on ‘Mock The Weak’, along with a demented vocal turn from Down I Go vocalist Pete Fraser once again sees them hitting all the right spots. There’s no denying the energy these guys bring to the table, and the musical chops to back them up, but if only the album was as consistent throughout we’d have a truly impressive debut. Still, these guys know how to make a racket and you can’t complain there.