Vancouver’s genre-blending make-out music-making trio, I M U R, share their third album, My Molecules, today. The unsigned band continues to serve up a mix of pop, electro-pop and R&B that is truly their own. I M U R consistently “tackle unconventional sexuality and timeless R&B grooves,” as Noisey puts it.
My Molecules is the narrative journey of lead vocalist, Jenny Lea, as she reflects on struggles with addiction, difficult past loves and coping with a near-death experience that almost derailed her music journey. Exploring themes of infatuation, lust and codependence, the album maps out the many ways people can themselves in their sense of self. Each song takes a bite out of those experiences, presenting a moment in the evolution of relationships, substance use and healing. At times representing brazen sexuality, introspective dependence and retrospective healing, My Molecules weaves a tapestry of self-discovery.
The title, My Molecules, came late in the development of the album for the band. The title track, the last song recorded, came to fruition and really consolidated a lot of the themes and ideas on the album. The album is written, performed and arranged by all three members, Mikey J Blige, Amine Bouzaher and Jenny Lea. Written largely during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some records dating back as far as 2018, the band brought on new management, Meta Arts Management, to oversee the project and teamed up with Brodie Metcalfe to Executive Produce the album. They topped off their music team with acclaimed mixing engineer, Jamie Kuse, and Brock McFarlane of CPS Mastering. My Molecules sees I M U R embracing the darker sides of pop; blending smooth R&B vibes over bass-heavy production. My Molecules is the definition of ‘A Mood.’
The latest single, “Birdseye,” is an extremely personal one for I M U R’s singer and songwriter, Jenny Lea. It’s about her near-death experience. She says, “Having had a near-death experience, it changed the course of my life, and the way I view death. I’m not afraid of leaving this earth, but I am afraid of not making my time here count. It has nothing to do with fame or ego, and everything to do with creation, love, and encouragement. This song encapsulates getting caught up in the head-down hustle, and is a self-reminder of the greater picture.”
Showing off the more dark, moody, trappy sound of the album, “Birdseye” started being built back in 2017 and the original track has much more future bass sound with heavy saw synth and it has completely been reborn into its current form, after Jenny Leah just could not let the song die. It was on the chopping block at least five times and has seen a year’s worth of carving, crafting, re-recording and rethinking. Truly a labor of love, they’re so thankful that it turned into what it is now.
It taught the band, as a whole, that sometimes taking a step back to view things from a different perspective and having a broader vantage point in life is key. This song is a reminder of that: sometimes stepping back and taking a breath can be the difference between losing your mind and appreciating the day-to-day experience of life. Processing big emotions and using alchemy to turn them into something beautiful and dark is the band’s guiding force through the entire album.
“Sad Girls Club,” the band’s previous single, is the crying in the club moment of the summer wrapped into a song. Lea describes the single, saying, “Sad Girls Club is about the trickery our subconscious mind plays on us when we’re feeling low. It’s about Self-deprecation, unworthiness, and being burdensome.” Producer and multi-instrumentalist Amine Bouzaher adds, “Ironically, a lot of negative thoughts combined to create an epic, dark banger, and we were able to pour all of those feelings into the production of the track. It’s always amazing to see what incredible art and positivity can come from channeling negative thoughts and feelings.”
Producer/guitarist Mikey J Blige encapsulates the overall vibe and says, “It’s ok at any age to feel like an emo kid that loves pop music AND trap music.” That heaviness that the song embodies and the emotional weight of doubt, depression and addiction is woven into the video. Lea literally wore 80 pounds of boat chains for hours. The tattoo she got was real and so was the hour-long shower she took after. Lea says, “I think it was the heaviness that sometimes comes along with being real and being honest. Just because you’re being honest doesn’t mean that it’s gonna be a happy ending Disney princess movie.”
The first single from the project “Case of You,” is a song that came complete with an exhilarating, sultry and queer video that is inspired by the early moments of pursuit in a new relationship. It’s about the highs you get with a newly acquainted lover and the infatuation that can come with the territory. “Case of You” pays homage to Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, whose songs had a heavy impact on Lea growing up. Describing the song, Lea says, “‘Case of You is a song about remembering those first few moments when you were falling in love. A snapshot of flirtation, infatuation, and living in the moment.”
Using the two singles that are out now as a guide, it’s clear that the My Molecules LP will not only be a very personal journey into Lea’s life, but also have a thread of realness that is undeniable for anyone who’s experienced love, loss and everything in between. From Spotify Viral 50 Billboard Chart success and multiple millions of streams to winning Electronic Artist of the Year at Western Canadian Music Awards in 2019 to sync placements with Working’ Moms, Wynona Earp, Wu Assassins, Good Trouble, Snowpiercer, Patagonia, Lululemon and many more, it’s safe to say this album is highly anticipated. “I M U R are a full-time gig,” Exclaim! says, and this exact principle of treating the band as a business is paramount for the project.
Although touring is on hold still, I M U R will be doing a special performance on July 3, 2021; so mark the calendar for their virtual show: My Molecules the Experience (from Blue Light Studios in Vancouver). Be on the lookout for more from I M U R and stream My Molecules, out now.