October 29, 2014 Head of Music

Album Review: Jamie T – Carry On The Grudge

After 5 years of silence, seek indie-poet-extraordinaire Jamie Treays rose from the dead last month with the long-awaited release of his new record Carry on the Grudge. Treays’ third album rolls onto our playlists with ease, viagra demonstrating a darker, thumb less ‘screechy’ string on the ‘one man arctic monkey’ bow, still echoing dulcet-shouty-tones of the Wimbledon singer’s ‘Sticks and Stones’ past.


Limits Lie’ jerks the album off to a promising start, as Jamie assures us he’s ‘came through the thunder’ and is here to stay. The album as a whole gives off an unintentional air of last year’s chart favourite ‘AM’, and marks a progression from angsty London teenager to fully-grown, non-functioning adult. ‘The Alex Turner effect’ seems to brush over most of the album rather than festering like a painful remake, with ‘Limits Lie’ sparking off the promise of a re-invention from Treays to envy the Sheffield-super-group’s 2013 attempt. The opening track ranks highly alongside the already released singles from Carry on the Grudge; ‘Don’t You Find’ and ‘Zombie’, as well as ‘Rabbit Hole’ and ‘Emily’s Heart’-esque ‘Love is only a Heartbeat’.


More nostalgic nods to Jamie’s past material are made seven songs in, through the scat-heavy, standalone anthem ‘Trouble’. With a drum beat that rolls straight off the back of ‘Kings and Queens’ and Treays’ familiar repetitive drone, the track emerges from the rest in the form of a trippy ‘Man’s Machine’ and without a doubt as one of the best songs on the record.


One final mention is deserved by the albums closing track ‘They Told Me It Rained’, which aptly finishes off one of the most substantial albums of 2014 with an exuding mixture of despair and enlightenment. ‘Between the birth cry and the death wail/ There’s just houses’ moans Treays over understated guitar and lingering female harmony, capturing perfectly the stale, unspoken sorrows of modern life. In terms of meaning, Jamie T has come a long way from his ‘drunk and being sick’ days of yore, producing lyrics so exquisitely tragic, they would not be out of place in a Sylvia Plath poem.


Recent interviews have revealed the singer’s growing obsession with death to be a major influence on his writing, with lyrics like ‘I will leave tracks/ the footsteps back’ seizing Treays’ haunting desire for his now-returning listeners to ‘remember me forever’, and a fear of being forgotten. Though gloomy, if albums 4,5 and 6 portray anything quite as beautifully hewn as ‘Carry on the Grudge’, it would be a crime for his music to drown within his rivals clockwork-indie-drivel. The sheer quality of the record grades it highly among its predecessors and must surely come from Jamie’s 5 year reality-break, though I for one am crossing my fingers the next release won’t take quite as long to perfect!


Heather Bradshaw