Jamie Lenman has become over years one of my favorite artists. He started a band named Reuben in the early 2000s that was an underground hit. During the 7 years they spent together, Reuben released 3 fantastic albums, each of them evolving their sound. They always characterized for being able to go from a truly hardcore metal to the most sweet and pop-y sound, sometimes even in the same song. After the split, Lenman spent 5 years dedicated to illustration before coming back to music in 2013 with the double album Muscle Memory. One day I’ll talk about that weird but extraordinary album, but today is time for Devolver.
Carrying the flag for variety
At it’s core, I think Devolver is a rock album. It has a series of metal tunes but I think it would be misleading to put it on that genre. The album moves constantly between different genres, making it difficult to classify. In a way, it goes back to that Reuben sound but taking it to the extreme. That could make for an inconsistent experience, but Lenman is able to make it work.
I think an excellent example of this is the song I Don’t Know Anything. The song starts with an 80s punk sound, it evolves to a melodic rock song and then it changes again and again. We have what it sounds like a string quartet, a very melodic part and finally something similar to a military march. It is crazy but it works and is pretty unique. We also have tunes like Waterloo Teeth and Mississippi that are fairly conventional metal songs, or songs like All of England is a City that could easily be part of a Foo Fighters album.
Jamie Lenman’s Devolver
Lenman voice’s range allows him to dive into different sounds and genres and perform well in all of them. It is not that usual to find artists with the ability to pull out an album like this, as is not only musical skills what are required, but also a taste for other genres and the willingness to push those boundaries. In a world where music fells constantly in common grounds, we need more people that tries to offer something different and refreshing.
Favorite track: difficult, but I’ll go with the title track – Devolver (Mississipi, I Don’t Know Anything and Bones are also really good)