JAMIE LENMAN — Muscle Memory (review)

JAMIE LENMAN — Muscle Memory album cover Album · 2013 · Hardcore Punk Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
BitterJalapeno
Released in late 2013, “Muscle Memory” is the debut double album by Jamie Lenman – former frontman of the cult UK post-hardcore band Reuben who have been on an “indefinite hiatus” since the summer of 2008. Anyone who knows the music of Reuben will be aware of Lenman’s incredible ability to juxtapose brutal heaviness against beautiful melodies throughout individual tracks and in the context of a full album.

After the personally disappointing break up of Reuben, Jamie Lenman finally returned to assault the senses once again. The first disc of this double album takes his previous heaviness to new heights while the second disc completely abandons heavy music in favour of more experimental indie/folk tones with touches of jazz and swing inspired music.

The music on the first disc is still deeply rooted in post-hardcore but also showcases elements of mathcore with complex time signature changes as well as traces of thrash, groove and sludge. The influence of sludge metal is obvious on the track “Gary, Indiana” and even more so on the closing track of the first disc “Muscle” which could easily qualify for a place on an Eyehategod album. Some tracks such as the blistering “One of My Eyes is a Clock” and “All the Things You Hate About Me, I Hate Them Too” come close to rivalling Meshuggah levels of brutality if not technicality. Overall, this is a great recording where dissonance and harmony are brought together in an undeniable projection of outstanding musical talent and song writing skill. Lenman’s ferocious vocal delivery is stronger than ever and I’m glad he has lost none of his ability to evoke intense emotion and genuinely make you feel his anger and pain deep inside.

As outlined above, the second disc contains music which obviously does belong on MMA but is nonetheless an enjoyable and humorous foray into indie/folk with the odd jazzy walking double bass line thrown in for good measure. It more accurately reflects the Bugsy Malone esque album cover and is orders of magnitude lighter and more accessible than anything Reuben ever recorded.

I would urge everyone to give the first disc of this a bash as it is an unknown and underrated gem. If the first disc was released as a standalone album, I would have to give it full marks but due to the inclusion of the second disc and the fact I am rating this as a metal release, I have to knock off a star and a half.
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Unitron wrote:
37 days ago
Sounds like a really interesting album and blend of different stuff, I'll definitely check this out.

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