Album Review: Jamie T – Trick

By on Monday, 12th September 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Jamie T Trick album coverThe social savant that is Jamie T has returned with what could possibly be his best work yet. ‘Trick’ is a walkthrough all that makes British music great. From the electronically pounding opener of ‘Tinfoil Boy’ to the closer ‘Self Esteem’, which recalls the building grandiosity found with bands such as The Last Shadow Puppets, this is an artist who can do it all with such ease. Being such a musical chameleon, switching from punk-laden tracks to those with an obvious hip-hop influence is no trouble at all for Jamie T. ‘Drone Strike’ has a fast-paced rhythm with which he easily keeps the pace. It’s when the chorus hits that the actual power of the song becomes apparent. A thunderous strike of “watch out for the drones, drones, drones” builds the unforgiving nature of the track.

As the album progresses through, one of the more prominent influences clear on the album are The Clash. This is apparent once you hit ‘Tescoland’. Even the title is reminiscent of ‘Lost in the Supermarket’ from the untouchable ‘London Calling’. The latter concerns Mick Jones’ formative years and his feeling of being lost at home, whereas Jamie T utilises this metaphor as a reference to his home of England and how he runs away to America to escape heartbreak but can never escape ‘Tescoland’ if you live in Britain.

Purposefully or not, this comparison shows Jamie T’s penchant for influence and bringing it into the modern world. Later track ‘Robin Hood’ also bears resemblance to ‘Hateful’ from ‘London Calling’. As suggested by the song’s namesake, ‘Robin Hood’ refers to a lifestyle choice made by the song’s protagonist to fight for those less fortunate, an ethos gallantly represented by the entirety of The Clash’s discography, not to mention the outro that features Jamie T enthusiastically screaming ‘everybody loves a bank robber” repeatedly (‘Bankrobber’ was a Clash track that featured only on the band’s 1980 compilation EP ‘Super Black Market Clash’.)

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TElBPcFIk0E[/youtube]

Both previously released singles, ‘Tinfoil Boy’ and ‘Power Over Men’, are brilliant excerpts to introduce the makeup of the album. ‘Tinfoil Boy’, as mentioned previously, is an introduction to the album that leaves no doubts in your mind that ‘Trick’ will be anything but boring. From the sampled intro that Jamie T utilises so well through his back catalogue, to the pounding electronically charged chorus, it’s a trigger to this major new weapon in his arsenal It’s in ‘Power Over Men’ that the classic songwriting and straight instrumentation becomes apparent as a major strength in Jamie T’s arsenal: a straightforward beat, glittering guitar sections and lyrics that strike. The focus here is upon a female protagonist’s control over men through her natural instincts, much like a call girl.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEQXJQn8LZg[/youtube]

It’s through lyrical content such as this where Jamie T shines. His entire back catalogue is rife with tales and stories of the darker side of life. Much like Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines, it’s done with projected sincerity, almost as if the stories are directly from his own life. ‘Joan of Arc’ carries this through, with a protagonist who is no doubt a character from his personal experience. It’s fully reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’, both in the jumpy hook and lyrical content that also concerns a female who comes to terms with her life through a retrospective narrative.

Each of the songs on ’Trick’ deserves its own essay, as the depths you can find in a Jamie T song is truly staggering. By far, the most personal sounding is ‘Sign of The Times’. You can hear the raw feeling that he sings of his personal experience starting in the industry in 2007, a year famed for being the midst of the landfill Indie era. With this time came a change in social attitudes and an eventual growth that saw the generation living it grow out of it, just as the genre that encapsulated it did. What Jamie T does here is portray his personal experience of living and surviving this time, wishing he could go back and change his own path. It become a song to truly evoke an extreme emotional response, with the guitar that leads it reminiscent of the sound you might find in a teenager’s bedroom. The guitar is only accompanied by bass, leaving a whole spectrum uncovered, pushing the emptiness found in the lyrics forward.

In its full form, ‘Trick’ just goes to prove that Jamie T is a gem amongst the British music crowd. Where his past and current contemporaries that were mentioned earlier in this review have developed into versions of themselves that are no longer recognisable compared to what they were in their more formative years, Jamie T somehow manages to continue exuding the charm and realness that he’s shown since day one.

9/10

Jamie T’s fourth album ‘Trick’ is out now on Virgin EMI. To read our past coverage on Jamie T on TGTF, go here.

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