It’s no secret that us lot love a bit of Jamie Lenman. Genuinely one of the most versatile, eccentric and hopelessly likeable figures in the UK alt scene, Lenman seems to have a habit to turning whatever musical endeavour he touches into gold. Be it penning love songs to 2000 Trees Festival, covering music written multiple millennia ago or just releasing his own brilliant idiosyncratic content, every piece of work released under his namesake thus far just bristles with unique charm and character. His latest offering, King Of Clubs, offers more of the same; his signature sound prevails and the mini-album is the perfectly appeasing appetiser for whatever Lenman plans next.
Perhaps an embodiment of our current cultural situation, ‘Summer of Discontent (The Future is Dead)’ opens the mini-album. Despite being written before the release of Lenman’s 2018 reimagining project Shuffle, ‘Summer of Discontent’ feels incredibly current. Featuring the molotov vocal work of Pengshui's Illaman, the angsty guitar tone can only be described as “100% Jamie Lenman” and the lyrics (after the initial chorus) will rile you up as he and Illaman sing “You work hard and push hard/ Let's take down this beast.”
In fact, King of Clubs feels as though it was purposely written to rile people up; each riff, lyric, and breakdown is weighted, designed to make a point. Whether that may be to start a mosh pit or to hammer home how people can’t hide behind angry words or phone screens, Lenman says a lot on King of Clubs.
‘I Don’t Wanna Be Your Friend’ is frenzied, and Lenman slings words left, right, and centre. It’s huge, with buzzsaw guitars and deserves to be played loud. With more than just a few subtle nods to the noxious post-hardcore of Reuben, it’s in the same vein as previous track ‘Sleep Mission’. The discordant, overdriven guitars make the tracks feel a little disjointed and coupled with slightly lyrics and you’ve got a slightly odd song – but Jamie Lenman, of course, makes it work.
That’s not to say that every song on King of Clubs is an experiment with slightly odd sounds. ‘The Road to Right’ would not be out of place on Devolver, Lenman’s 2017 studio album – that’s to say, it’s a bit more tame than other tracks on this mini-album. But even the gentle tracks have a place on King of Clubs.
The album has been carefully put together so that it takes you on a journey. And at the end, you’re rewarded with a gem of a song. ‘King of Clubs’ is an instrumental masterpiece. It’s easy to get invested in this track, you’ll quickly find yourself eager to hear where the weirdly relaxing rock track will take you.
That’s really what’s so great about Jamie Lenman and King of Clubs. It’s so genuine that you’ll find yourself immersed in its sounds and Lenman’s confrontational and confessional words. Sure, the album isn’t treading new terrain, but it’s still exciting, still brilliant and sometimes that’s exactly what you want from new music.
King Of Clubs is released September 25th via Big Scary Monsters.