Guess who’s back? Like he’s never been away, English troubadour Jamie T has crashed onto the scene with a new album. This is the man who opened his first album with a yell of “Fucking croissant!,” made the Cockney London accent cool again alongside Kate Nash, then disappeared off the map for five years. Carry on the Grudge signals a continuation of the youthful bedroom-punk of his 00’s albums, Panic Prevention and Kings and Queens.
Jamie T is at his best making scrappy indie on bass guitars with stories of lost youth in half-spoken lyrics. This album has enough of that to suffice, alongside a wider exploration of arrangements and influences.
“Limits Lie” is an optimistic opener with the refrain “Who knows where your limits lie?” To quickly darken the tone, “Turn on The Light” describes a writer who “kills all the characters and crosses out the heroine”. First single “Don’t You Find” sees a slowing of pace, and the closest thing to romance to be found on this album (except maybe “Love is Only a Heartbeat Away”, a cute folk interlude later in the track-list.) The repetitive melody is layered over with a dub-like beat and backing vocals. “Zombie” is a tribute to post-teen angst and hopefully the new favourite track for alternative Halloween club nights. “The Prophet” is a drunken, sweary working-class drawl, the soundtrack to a depressing Sunday in a London pub. “Trouble” continues the theme of petty crime and gritty streets, like “Sheila” did back in his breakout from obscurity in 2006.
Jamie is hitting up Toronto for his sole Canadian date in December, so make sure to check his website for tickets. Considering he was too nervous to allow journalists into his first comeback gig in Glasgow, let’s hope by December the live show is as raucous as before.
– Ellen MacAskill