Release Date: Sep 30, 2014
Record label: Virgin EMI
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
After providing many teenagers with the soundtrack to their angsty years with his first two albums – 2007‘s Mercury Prize-nominated Panic Prevention and his follow-up Kings And Queens in 2009 – Wimbledon singer-songwriter Jamie T disappeared. Several years went by without any word on new material from the brash twentysomething who had quickly established himself as the voice of a generation with his quick-witted anthems. Yet those who feared that Jamie T had given up on music altogether could not be any further from the truth.
Cor blimey Mr. T (not that one), you don’t half keep us on tenterhooks. Five stinkin' years have passed since Kings & Queens, a frighteningly lauded LP that spawned radio and indie-disco staples such as “Sticks 'n' Stones” (“Running with the beavers/no time for lemur...”). When details began to pour in about the possibility of a long-awaited third full-length from Jamie T, such was the cynicism that followed half a decade of silence, it was met partly with disbelief.
Snarling and rapping his smart lyrics since 2007, the genre-spanning Jamie T. pops his heads up once in a while, grabs some NME awards, and lands on various Best Albums of the Year lists, and then disappears into the ether, perhaps unhappy that he's been tagged as pop music's future. Carry on the Grudge is a brilliant title for Comet Jamie T.'s 2014 return because five years off and he's still snarling at the injustice in the world, but as opener "Limits Lie" displays, he's able to take this universal hurt on at a bluesman's pace, making the high-volume weeping and wailing during the song's chorus quite effective.
There is a void in everyone's lives. One you don't realise exists until you're a few decades old. It rears its ugly head in the peculiar years between adolescence and adulthood. It's a hollow feeling. One built upon nothingness. No direction. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. Jamie T knows this feeling ….
There is a theory that trends in rock and pop music move at a much less dramatic pace than they once did. You used to get great upheavals that suddenly left the world before them looking dated: psychedelia, punk, acid house. Now we’re supposed to live in a less turbulent musical era, where the whole smorgasbord of the past is available online, ready for anyone to draw on, where nothing seems arcane and nothing really goes out of fashion.
It’s hard not to warm to an album entitled Carry on the Grudge. “Sod closure,” it says, “sod good emotional hygiene; I’m staying bitter.” It is fitting, then, that this third Jamie Treays album is in great part glass-half-empty; brooding, full of everything that is wrong. Cold flats, lost loves, the voices in your head, and “being in entertainment” all figure.