Jamie T – Trick Review

Who is Jamie T? Once you think you know the answer, he’ll release an album like Trick and what you thought you knew has been flipped on its head. First, we had 2007’s debut Panic Prevention, in which a carefree Jamie Treary explored the lives of bus-shelter-inhabiting, ASBO-acquiring teens through punk-rooted frankness. Just shy of ten years later, and Jamie has returned with a coming-of-age LP, which has tapped into the best bits of his previous three albums, but has marbled each track with wisdom and cultural awareness.

Jamie recently hit the big 3-0, paving the way for a newfound maturity and overlapping darkness that manifests from the very first track. Tinfoil Boy is the grungiest of all twelve songs, with lashing drums an intense hook to back the chorus that is practically spat by Jamie. The raw, piercing lyric – “it’s times like this I feel tricked into waking up” – catapults the listener into the brooding themes that bubbles up throughout the album lyrically and instrumentally. This continues in Drone Strike, in which a similarly bellowed two-word chorus, but revisits his incredible rap talent. Tinfoil Boy, however, seems to prepare the listener for Solomon Eagle. Jamie is more talkative in this track – it’s not rapped, but not really sung either – narrating the ominous tales of rough city life. Most effective is the conclusion of this track, in which Jamie has a number of backing vocalists alongside him chanting “This is God giving up”, as if a gang is closing in. Sign of the Times is Jamie’s most self-confronting track, in which he repeatedly calls himself “not enough” – frankly, this album suggests otherwise. The track creates a solemn, eerie atmosphere with an echoic bass and vocals, allowing Jamie’s voice to take mainstage. It discusses how “all the venues” being taken by businessmen, heightening Jamie’s conscious, big-boy take on this album.

Power Over Men assumes a completely different attitude, reflective of circa. 2013 Arctic Monkeys in its groovy guitar riff and the Monkey’s signature backing vocals/harmonies. The track takes a detour from the other numbers on the album, with a more relaxed theme, instigating a more simplistic instrumental approach. I don’t think it’s as radio-ready as its successor, Tescoland, despite the dark voice over intro. The topic of the song is ambiguous, but the Zombie-like notions make it a fun, pop-punk-laced track. Robin Hood is very similar, like a modern-day Sham 69. Closing track Self-Esteem is an excellent finale; a mellow acoustic number that fabricates into a conjuring of angry basses, guitars and vocals. It sums the album perfectly well, with outpourings of great authenticity and blatancy hand-in-hand with confusion and rage.

Despite reflections of older albums, Jamie T has created something extremely new, delivering his audience with a fresh maturity sculpted innovatively by what is quintessentially him.

Jamie T – Trick: 8/10

Eleanor Chivers

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