Jamie Lenman – ‘Mississippi’ [Review]

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Jamie Lenman is one of the UK’s greatest songwriters. The proof is already out there in the form of Muscle Memory, Racecar Is Racecar Backwards, Very Fast Very Dangerous, and In Nothing We Trust – the latter three released way back when Jamie Lenman fronted underground UK rock kings Reuben. Arriving post-Reuben, 2013’s Muscle Memory was a double album taking in everything from viciously intense mathcore to laid-back ukulele-driven folk.

With so much evidence of his talents backing him up, Jamie Lenman has little to prove at this point. But like all great artists, that fact hasn’t stopped him from attacking the future with the same fire and hunger that drives any half-decent musician at the start of their career. Commitment and ambition are everything in music – and Jamie Lenman possesses both in abundance.

Nine Inch Nails have long been a core Lenman influence – Reuben once covered the NIN classic The Hand That Feeds, while Trent Reznor was namechecked on Deadly Lethal Ninja Assassin from In Nothing We Trust, to name a couple of indicators – and on Mississippi, with its industrial-grade riffs and distorted vocals, the spirit of Reznor is fully summoned and channelled into your headphones and earholes. But that doesn’t make Mississippi a cheeky pastiche, nor a slavish tribute. Leman’s personality shines through as clearly as ever here.

Mississippi is fucking filthy. If it were an actual river, you would not drink from its waters – but you would stand still on its banks, hypnotized by the way invisible and disturbingly powerful currents churn the murky waters as they head downriver toward parts unknown. Then, after almost four minutes, silence and calm would come – and you’d find yourself yearning for the currents to return again.

Lodged within Jamie Lenman’s most soul-bearing lyrics to date, Mississippi’s core hook is a simple handful of words: I can’t let go. Well, my mind can’t and won’t let go of Mississippi. Right now, I’m preparing to face down my Bottomless Gmail Inbox Of Doom, crammed full of new music submissions, certain that whatever I wind up listening to next, I’ll inevitably end up revisiting Mississippi as soon as humanly possible.

TMMP RATING: 96% (Essential Listening!)

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Posted on 23 January 2017

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