Jamie Lenman is one of those artists who’s followers are fervent for new material, they chomp at the bit for a new song to be drip fed to them after a lengthy absence, they wait with baited breath to see what new sonic landscapes await them. Mr Lenman is more than happy to oblige.
After the dissolution of his highly influential band Reuben in 2008, fans were left bereft. When Jamie returned with Muscle Memory in 2013 he was welcomed back by his fan base with eagerly open arms, gifting a double album of blistering hardcore infused noise-metal on one side and bluegrass, jazz and folk inspired accompanying pieces on the other, many disparate styles somehow complimenting each other as a whole. It left the question, what will Jamie Lenman do next? This week, that question was answered.
Mississippi is Jamie venturing into new territory yet again with a strong and driven industrial sound, yet somehow keeping some of the American bluegrass inspired sensibilities that were present on his debut album. This song sounds like a chain gang song gone metal. In the opening 30 seconds or so, some of you may be forgiven for thinking you are listening to a Nine Inch Nails track, the pounding, synth layered guitar riffs, and driving drum beat are there, Lenman’s voice with a slight whiff of Reznor about it but still undeniably him. This isn’t just some pastiche, a lazy throwaway, it is an exciting divergence of style that blew me away on the first listen through. The lyrical content of Mississippi by Lenmen’s own admission is probably amongst his most personal, concerning a person burying all their bad thoughts & feelings, the powerful ‘I Can’t Let Go’ of the chorus feeling all the more confessional. The song ends referencing the Muscle Memory song Shotgun House with the spelt out Mississippi refrain, a affectionate nod to Lenman’s late father, this time framed by a gorgeously heavy and deliberate riff that just begs for a live venue full of people screaming it out in unison.
On the many subsequent listens that feeling from the first time I heard it did not dissipate, not in the slightest, I loved the song more. I love it for the fact he could have quite simply continued treading on the path previously travelled, a safe fan-pleasing mix of what had come before, which would have been no bad thing, instead we get something wholly different from the Lenman cannon. This song is a bold statement of intent for what is to come, a brave new direction for a constantly evolving artist wishing to stay one step ahead of the curve and to defy what is expected of him in new, breathtaking ways. This is Jamie Lenman 3.0 and i can’t wait to see what comes next.
Mississippi is available now to purchase & stream.