Jamie Lenman is a bona fide legend in the UK alternative scene, to the point that even the title of his 2020 album, King of Clubs, alludes to his status as a champion of the underground.
Since his solo career began in 2013, the former frontman of fabled post-hardcore/alt rock heroes Reuben has continually pushed the boundaries of what his music can be, all without losing sight of his heavy, melodic roots. Double album Muscle Memory split those opposing forces into two, one side crushing hardcore, the other, straight-up folk. Devolver experimented with the styles and rhythms of electronic pop, Shuffle reinvented the cover album, and mini-album King Of Clubs saw him seduced by the dark side.
The Atheist is Jamie turning back towards the light, and as a result, it’s his most accessible release yet. ‘This Is All There Is’ opens the album in style, mixing grunge riffs with his trademark vocal hooks and ‘Lenmanisms’ (‘You really think there’s a heaven and hell? Well maybe there’s a planet Krypton as well’), but it’s ‘Talk Hard’ that truly sets the album’s tone, with bright instrumentals and singalong melodies fit to warm even the most cynical of hearts. Stubborn fans might lament the lack of screaming and skull-crushing aggression, but with gorgeous tracks like ‘Hospital Tree’ and ‘Bad Friend’ nestled amongst melodic bangers like ‘My Anchor’, ‘Deep Down’ and ‘Song On My Tongue’, you really shouldn’t care. This is still very much a Jamie Lenman album, and a very excellent one at that.
The Atheist is out now via Big Scary Monsters
Photo by: Jen Hingley