After the break up of his band Reuben in 2008, Jamie Lenman disappeared from the live music scene. He continued to work as an illustrator, working for amongst others, The Guardian and also Doctor Who magazine as their resident illustrator ‘Baxter’. Then without fanfare, in 2013 he gave the world Muscle Memory.
Muscle Memory is an album that is an amalgam of different genres, predominantly metal, Jazz and folk. The album is split into two halves, the first half entitled Muscle is a collection of blistering, howling, metal inspired hardcore. Tracks such as Fizzy Blood, The F@@k Of It All and One Of My Eyes Is A Clock absolutely slay the listener and take no prisoners. Buzzsaw guitars, disparate time signatures and guttural vocal roars are the order of the day in this first half and it is a glorious, glorious wall of noise.
The albums second half Memory is a more subdued and thoughtful affair. Comprising more traditional acoustic/Uke/Banjo led folk numbers like I Ain’t Your Boy, Shotgun House, Its Hard To Be A Gentleman, If You Have To Ask You’ll Never Know and the heartbreaking Saturday Night even touching on Jazz influences with Pretty Please. The two halves end with tracks entitled Muscle and Memory respectively, I was told by a friend of mine recently that the two tracks are intended to be played simultaneously to form the track Muscle Memory, an homunculus of the disparate styles of the album and a work of genius.
It was an album that was brave, utterly fearless in its delivery and reminded fans just how missed a musical talent Jamie Lenman was. He toured the album and played occasional live shows here and there. Jamie recently leant guest vocals to the new Black Peaks album and has yet to release a follow up to Muscle Memory. I for one wait with baited breath.