As the lines distinguishing musical genres become less and less visible, the Australian music scene has bared witness to an increasing number of refreshing artists and groups daring to throw their favourite genres in a blender to concoct something delicious. In line with the works of upcoming Perth stars POW! Negro, Mt. Cleverest are the newest outfit to delve into the rap-rock fusion sound.
Formed in June of 2016, the alt rock-indie rap four piece have performed a series of local shows in the lead up to the official release of their debut single, ‘That Girl’. Featuring the catchiest of hooks and a blistering guitar solo, the song revolves around the concept of an addictive but equally malevolent romantic muse. Graced by the mixing expertise of Grammy Award-winning Brian Lucey – whose roster includes the likes of The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys – the song exerts a sound which inspires comparisons to the British rock sound of The Kooks.
Friday night at Jack Rabbit Slims saw the launch of this single with class acts Boykie and Death By Denim providing the support. Hot off the release of their debut EP, Boykie kicked things off for the growing crowd. Not allowing an ankle injury to come between his band and a compelling performance, lead vocalist Sam Stopforth demonstrated his innate ability to completely lose himself within his onstage persona, exhibiting a committed and confident performance. A particular highlight of the set was the incorporation of The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ into the outro of their track ‘Jetlag’ – an impeccable blend. Other standout songs ‘Still Hiding’ and ‘Family Man’ provided evidence of the band’s cohesion and passion for their craft, with the latter possessing a spiralling whirlwind of self-admission for an outro.
As more folks began bustling into the venue, Death By Denim continued where Boykie left off. The band swiftly had the crowd on their feet and filling up the dancefloor with their high energy and Chili Peppers sonic influence. All four members displayed an attention-demanding presence with lead singer Nikolas Iliadis treating the audience to a lively performance of the group’s brand new single, ‘Suburban Royalty’.
The moment had arrived for Mt. Cleverest to grace the stage, much to the jubilation of the now-packed venue. Rocking a Russ merchandise tee, the heavy hip-hop influence was present from the get go as lead vocalist Christian Mechler laid his punchy rhymes and strong vocals over a variety of indie-rock backdrops. Mechler’s ability to effortlessly swap between rhythm guitar, singing and rapping was a sight to see, so much so that a number audience members had to elevate to the shoulders of another for a better view.
With a number of their lyrics discussing the internal conflict between financial security and personal freedom, specifically on the song ‘Money’, the band appears to display a collective wisdom beyond its constituents’ years. That applies to musical know-how also, with their knack for the musical arrangement of bridges and chords on display is essentially every song. Featuring songs with Frank Ocean interpolations and Two Door Cinema Club-esque vibes, this set quickly turned into one of the best gigs I’ve attended at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. The crowd seemed to agree, with a frenzied chant of “ONE MORE SONG” ringing out following the band’s final song. Yet once again, Mt. Cleverest raised to the occasion delivering an improvised rendition of arguably the best song of the night, ‘Step Back’, even getting audience members to sing the chorus through the mic. The fact that one of the highlights of the night almost didn’t happen was testament to the depth of Mt. Cleverest’s yet to be released content.
On a cold, wet Autumn night you may be forgiven for not jumping at the call to hit the town with some mates. Yet people who fell into this category last Friday shouldn’t be granted this alibi, as Mt. Cleverest put on one of the strongest and most memorable performances in recent memory. The future is blindingly bright for this band, as we’ve only had a taste of their volumes of content. From the night’s proceedings, it became apparent that when it comes to musical talent, depth of content and live performance, Mt. Cleverest have already reached the summit.
You can grab Mt. Cleverest’s latest single on Apple Music and Spotify now.