Jamie T: Carry on the Grudge

After quite a substantial five year gap Jamie Treays is back with this third album that definitely doesn’t disappoint, for fans that might have worried the hiatus would have changed the singer’s clear-cut perceptions of the world. Despite the fact that this album certainly sees more singing instead of reams of tongue-twisting lyrics that we might have seen on the first of Jamie’s first two albums, Carry On The Grudge sees more of a contemplative side to the singer. Of course much of album’s subjects reflect the same penchant that Mr T has for creating caricatured individuals from everyday observations.

Tracks such as “Mary Lee” might slight remind of fans of “Emily’s Heart” from 2009’s King’s & Queen’s, by mulling over thoughts of deep regret: “What a stupid young boy I was to let Mary leave.” In stark contrast, the only other name-titled track of the album Peter is an impeccable portrayal of his own inner alter-ego and critic that Treays tries to keep at bay by verbally hammering it to a pulp “Peter doesn’t like my friends….Peter doesn’t like this song.”

“The Prophet” slurs the tale of a drug-induced spiral of self-destruction, unclear as to how much it is Treays telling the story of someone else or drawing on his own experience. Treays paints the dark, dingy side of his lifestyle “She asked me is it painless/Am I humouring the brainless?/Being young and drunk and all fucked-up and being in entertainment.” This and “Turn On The Light,” with the lyrics like “I know what it’s like to feel loved/And to not like yourself,” is like Treays’ own counter to looking on life through rose-tinted glasses.

However whilst most tracks on this third album brandish some kind of anguish and alienation, the second song released off the album “Zombie” does this but reverts back to a more buoyant punk- inspired track. The video itself is pretty brilliant, seeing Jamie and his accompanying band slowly turn into zombies throughout their performance, in some drab pub, unsurprisingly to their aged audience. The song’s chorus becomes an insanely catchy chant, prescribing the disappointments of routine adulthood, leaving him “a sad sack, post teen/Caught up in the love machine/ no pain, no gain/ walking like a zombie.”

Chiefly Jamie Treays does fulfil what is promised by the album’s title, in carrying on a whole slew of bluster and bitterness that proved moving on five years has certainly not taken the edge off these boyish sentiments, or for that matter, his song-writing. Instead we are met with more melodic development, in tracks such as Don’t You Find, in which a kind of 80s synth-y effect is entwined with dub- sounds. The consistently dark tone that is unmistakably identified with Jamie T’s sound is this time a little more introspective and slower in pace but still shows that he hasn’t lost any of his lyrical vigour or dynamism.

Rating: 9.0/10

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