Jamie Lenman “Iknowyouknowiknow”

Big Scary Monsters, 2023

Guitar-based indie from a singer-songwriter with lyrics that are a cut above.

Artwork for the front cover of Jamie Lenman's album iknowyouknowiknowEnglish singer-songwriter Jamie Lenman started his career in alt-rock band Reuben in 2001 but has been working as a solo artist since the break-up of the band in 2008. His first love, though, is being an illustrator, and he worked for The Guardian full-time for seven years and has contributed to Doctor Who Magazine under the pseudonym “Baxter”.

Lenman had 15 or 16 songs written for his fifth solo album in 2022 and decided to split them into an album, ‘The Atheist’, and this six-song EP. He is at pains to say that the songs on the EP are not those that have been “discarded” but rather that they are ones that don’t fit in as well with the overall feel of the album and indeed many of them were originally going to be on the album. The EP can therefore be thought of as a “stand-alone” record or a third side to the album which acts as a companion to it.

The music is indie, with guitar, bass and drums dominating but with piano and strings added on some tracks. It is not unlike the work of his friend and labelmate, Frank Turner. Lenman sings and plays all instruments except for the strings played by Basia Bartz. Although there are some good melodies here, it is the quality of his lyrics which really stands out. In the past, he has liked and been influenced by heavy metal but there are none of the macho words of that genre here; he deals with affairs of the heart in an interesting, skillful and engaging way. The songs are detailed and realistic so that it is easy to relate to the words.

There is a great start with the opening track ‘Words Of Love’ which is rock music with a soaring chorus reminiscent of Squeeze’s  ‘Another Nail In My Heart’ but not close enough for him to end up in court. The song concerns a late teenage affair which ended in betrayal and heartbreak with the singer still angry:

 “Just a couple kids/ and perhaps it’s true/ that it’s not your fault all I had was you/ It was a mistake, just a bit of fun! /When I saw your face I knew what you’d done.”

In a similar catchy rock vein is ‘The Last Supper’ which tells the story and emotions behind a final meal before a break-up: “Make dinner and you’re inviting me too/ a last supper for the broken hearted/ a mass funeral for all we started”

‘Crazy Horse’ has the writer looking at the unfinished memorial to a Native American warrior carved into a South Dakota hillside, realising that he will be dead before it is finished but serene in the knowledge that there will be life worth living for future generations. ‘I Done Things I Ain’t Proud Of’ has a slight country feel with trademark bass runs and lists some of these things which in turn may make the listener reflect on their mistakes. ‘Run Right Home’ discusses disillusion with both touring life and a job in the city.

The record ends with a stripped-down acoustic version of ‘This Town Will Never Let Us Go’ which is on ‘The Atheist’ and addressed to a friend who has left their hometown. Lenman has deliberately added it at the end as a connection from the EP to the album.

Lenman is an interesting character and this EP was well worth recording and releasing.


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