It has been over 4 years since Wimbledon-born Jamie Treays’ last outing, and its been even longer since he burst onto the scene with his debut album, featuring hit “Sheila.” It would have been fair to be apprehensive about Jamie T’s return, and many called for a change in style from the spit of the London lad stumbling his way through his early twenties. In many ways, they got exactly that, but a vast number will be glad to be able to cling to the story-telling, troublemaking manner that made Jamie T so popular and so relatable to many between 2007 and 2009.
The first two tracks are best described as frustrating, as lyrically complete as they are, the expectation was that the album would open with a bang. This is delayed until “Turn On The Light” which is still easy-listening, but also accompanies a quicker pace – it may be easily adapted to be played live on his tour that starts at the very end of this month. One of the best received tracks has been “Zombie”, which mirrors his tracks from before the turn of the decade. The video is also worth a look, a humourous live performance in a morbid pub, with Treays and the band turning into zombies themselves, at one point, Jamie has his head removed by his guitarists’ arm which is being used as a drumstick from the majority of the video – great stuff. “The Prophet” is a perfect combination of the slur of Tom Meighan from Kasabian and also the Jamie T of old. “It can’t be any worse than what I’ve been up to”, he says, in all fairness we didn’t imagine Treays to have been studying a Law masters degree for 3 years.
“Mary Lee” looks back on the carelessness Jamie T feels he showed as a “stupid young boy.” Similarly, the next track, “Trouble”, speaks of “hold[ing] on to what you’ve got”. It implies the image of walk through his home town, with female voices echoing behind his quick-tongued descriptions. “Rabbit Hole” is destined the be a pearl on the tour, the upbeat nature of the track in an intimate venue this November is a match made in heaven, it’s a cracker. The obviously inspired “Peter” continues the rockier feel that emerges three-quarters of the way through the record.
“Love Is Only A Heartbeat Away” is a melodic masterpiece that encapsulates honest roots and honest mistakes and is probably the stand-out slow song. Unfortunately, it can’t be matched by the oddly-named “Murder of Crows”, but this is in the most down to the quality of the previous track. The final track, “They Told Me It Rained”, winds down the album with an intimacy that is both effective and interesting towards the very end. It is worth noting that “40/40”, the B-side to “Zombie”, is a faster paced track than the majority on “Carry On The Grudge” and some were disappointed that songs of a similar style didn’t feature on this record. One thing the album has shown, however, is that Treays is now a dynamic artist; this can only enhance and lengthen his career, which is good news all round.
Jamie T performed on Later… with Jools Holland last night (Monday 30th) and performances from the show can be found on the BBC YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=UUCj956IF62FbT7Gouszaj9w