Review Summary: One of this years best records so far, and a fantastic debut record. This will undoubtedly be picked up and enjoyed by teenagers of the next generation and should not be written off as just pretenders in the current trend of indie music in the late 00s.
I haven't been a radio listener since starting my job a few months ago, before then I had no idea what contemporary artists were popular and how distant my musical pulse is to the rest of the UK. So earlier this year when two gushing students approached me and asked if I was Jamie T, I had no idea who they meant. Did I go to school with them" Did they wanna score some grass" I was pretty clueless, although they were surely disappointed to have met Jonesy rather than Jamie, they did politely explain who my spitting image was, and even commented I was better dressed then he was at his gig the night before.
I told this story to my friends at work who thought it was pretty funny and did notice the similar look we both had. Although I wasn't expecting much, I was very keen to hear his music. My friend had some on his MP3 player, and let me listen to some on the way home from work, while explaining in detail, Jamie T's struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, and how it has effected his song writing. Since I have my own issues with mental illness and suffer from occasional violent spells and panic attacks, I was becoming more and more interested, while the ska and hip hop influenced pop filled my ears.
The music is a simple but effective affair, generally following a jerky ska rhythm, but avoiding the clichés on post 2tone ska. With plenty of guitar pop and break beats thrown in too, it is an acquired taste that some will fall head over heels for and others will just fall out with. Jamie T's voice perfectly suites the angular pop music on show, although he lacks traditionally professional qualities, he has a fantastic range of style, going from soulful choruses to rowdy rapped verses with ease and a great flow.
The first song I heard of Jamie's was 'Calm Down Dearest'. Although the beatless intro grated at first, once the beat kicks in with its soothing organ lines and string samples kick in it shows itself to truly be one of the best singles of recent years, with an incredibly touching chorus which at times has almost brought me to tears, and all too familiar stories within the lyrics. That no doubt are about his own life.
Its not all gloom and gloom, Jamie T has a surprising cheeky wit within a lot of his material. ‘Pacemaker’ is a thumping, bragging rap, while ‘If you got the money’ tells of young single life, but with a healthy dose of humour and sarcasm.
Often described in the press as a ‘one man arctic monkey’, although I consider this to be lazy journalism, Jamie T and Alex Turner, both have a keen taste for punk rock from the height of its popularity in the late seventies, such as The Clash
, The Buzzcocks
and John Cooper Clarke
. Jamie T’s sound and influence is flavoured with a taste for reggae, hip hop and Ian Dury and the Blockheads
(note the Dury records on the front cover). While Turner’s taste tends towards rock acts such as Oasis
and The Vines
. I think that most who like one artist, will more than likely enjoy the other, however Jamie T’s record is more varied in sound than both of the Monkey’s records put together.
One of this years best records so far, and a fantastic debut record. This will undoubtedly be picked up and enjoyed by teenagers of the next generation and should not be written off as just pretenders in the current trend of indie music in the late 00s.