Release Date: Oct 6, 2009
Record label: Virgin
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Kings And Queens is a scrappy, foul-mouthed journey through the mind of youth that channels a full spread of British styles, including folk, UK garage and the Madchester sound preferred by Stone Roses. Jamie T's style is still incredibly endearing, and for the most surprising reasons, whether he's posing as a half-drunk wannabe romantic on Jilly Armeen or using phrases like "twat" and "top banana" in the same breath on the surprisingly cohesive folk/drum 'n' bass mashup Spider's Web. [rssbreak] T relates to impetuous youth on a primal level for good reason: he's still there.
I think one thing that we can all agree on is that Jamie T doesn't take things too seriously. That's not to say that he doesn't work hard, put out quality songs and albums or tour them accordingly. I'm just saying, Jamie T likes to have some fun. His brilliance (yep, I said it) on his first album, 2007's Kev Kharas-adored Panic Prevention seemed almost accidental.
Part of Jamie T’s charm is that he’s a bit rough around the edges. The South London lad’s sophomore album is shaped as much by bruises and blackouts as it is by the Clash’s Combat Rock. But there’s nothing slack about the songwriting on Kings and Queens. The disc is packed with tightly crafted modern pop, and seamlessly melds the artist’s myriad influences.
Jamie Treays's Mercury-nominated debut, Panic Prevention, would have been a near-masterpiece of urban storytelling if he hadn't rapped/sung most of it in an aggrieved whine that brought to mind a 15-year-old refusing to take his feet off the bus seat. It made much of the record unlistenable - but he hasn't made the same mistake twice. Improbable as it sounds, Treays has discovered the acoustic guitar, and with it a dreamy vocal style that renders songs such as Emily's Heart and Jilly Armeen as wistful elegies.
After just one album, it may have been difficult to peg Jamie T. as either a Streets imitator or an original on his own. His debut, Panic Prevention, included flashes of brilliance, but the yowling delivery and willfully obtuse lyrics could've easily been a pose. Album number two comes with some high expectations -- Panic Prevention was Mercury-nominated, after all -- and it mostly confirms that Jamie Treays has a music career in front of him if he wants it.
When [a]Jamie T[/a] surfed the initial wave of hype on his washboard, it just seemed like Virgin had dropped a syringe on Camden and signed up whichever posho troubadour dabbling in ragamuffin chic it stuck in. However, even though his vocal inflections and street poet lyrics seemed desperately seeking for a place between His Holiness The Doherty and Citizen Skinner, his jumble of punk, hip-hop and folk proved to be great fun, and his debut album ‘Panic Prevention’ became an unlikely favourite of Mercury judges, Whiley coyotes and mams and dads too. It was good for heaven’s sake, but two years on, which way has the 23-year-old gone with his follow up? Lo-er than lo-fi’s ever been before? Not a chance, the music industry’s on its arse, and Jamie T rumbles back into view sitting astride a big, shiny chart missile.
I’m sorry, I know England loves this guy, but something about him rings false. The hype you heard about Jamie T’s debut album (and his breakout single “Sheila”) was built around buzzwords ‘wit’, ‘larrikin’, ‘South London’; in fact, he was more of a teenager with an acoustic guitar who fell firmly in the shadow of Mike Skinner. It was 2007, and nobody, seems, could get enough of being told ‘how it is’, preferably in as loutish an accent as humanly possible.