Release Date – 25/09/20
Record Label – Big Scary Monsters
For Fans Of – Reuben, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Code Orange
Since breaking out as a solo star in 2013, Jamie Lenman has treated fans to a host of brilliant albums that showcase exactly why he’s become a pillar of British punk music, with genre-defining originality and intimate lyricism becoming the norm with every release. His latest record, King of Clubs, is no different and delivers huge tunes one after another in breath-taking fashion.
The decision to release a “mini album” of only 7 songs has proven to be an inspired one as Jamie Lenman has removed the need for any filler tracks and crafted a fully infatuating record. King of Clubs provides a perfect blend between a sonically polished record that is still bursting with raw aggression and full to the brim with harrowing atmosphere.
From start to finish there’s an unnerving aura present that seemingly drags you deep inside Lenman’s mind and leaves you hanging on every word. The atmosphere is chilling, the breakdowns are pounding, and the lyrics are poetic. Opening track ‘Summer of Discontent’ sets the immediate precedent that King of Clubs is a record that certainly packs a punch. This is clearly an album crammed with overriding emotions of anger and discontent and it feels as though King of Clubs is an outlet for Lenman to voice the rawest emotions that consume his every thought. Whether it’s the introspective nature of ‘The Road To Right’ or the matter-of-factness in ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Your Friend’ there is a comforting relatability within Lenman’s distinctive voice.
Highlighting a standout moment on King of Clubs is an all but impossible task. With almost every song moving at a breakneck speed and delivering constant thrills there isn’t really any one song that stands out above the rest. With such a high-octane feel present throughout the album it’s perhaps ‘Like Me Better’ that draws the starkest contrast. The song adopts a much more chilled vibe that shows Lenman’s unquestionable versatility as a songwriter although the individual sounds used are still more commonly found in more energetic settings with the use of fuzz bass and driven guitars. Capturing those typical punk-rock sounds in a more muted environment feels somewhat unnatural at first but allows the track plenty of room to grow as it gradually builds before triumphantly exploding into life.
The political edge to the record makes it feel all the more meaningful as Jamie Lenman uses King of Clubs as a platform to really get his point across. The fact that Lenman has managed to pack so much energy, aggression and passion into such a short album is testament to his songwriting capabilities that go largely unrivalled in the punk-rock scene. It’s rare that an entire album is able to deliver a consistent sense of hypnotic simplicity in such a spinetingling manor, however that’s exactly what should be expected from an artist as rare as Jamie Lenman.
Rating – 9/10
Recommended Tracks – Sleep Mission, The Road To Right