“I don’t want the next album to take 5 years”, says Wimbledon’s Jamie T in the NME, after releasing his first album in what felt like an eternity back in 2014. He wasn’t joking either, as here he is, following a normal album-tour cycle once again, with Trick.
Back in 2007, when admittedly I was only 8 years old, a 19 year old Jamie Treays released his sample-heavy, hip-hop influenced debut album ‘Panic Prevention’. Following the stardom he faced with this landmark indie LP, came ‘Kings & Queens’ accompanied with an agonising 5 years for his follow up ‘Carry On The Grudge’.
Now that Treays is back in the game (pardon the pun), 2016 sees his most diverse and mature release to date. On first listen, an overwhelming amount of genres ring through the album, with hip hop, punk, and reggae taking the limelight, as has become a custom with Jamie’s music.
However, Trick is essentially a reinvention of style for Jamie T, as he strives for his most accessible album as yet, particularly with tracks like the funky jarring Power Over Men, tribalistic Dragon Bones, and the building pop ballad Joan of Arc.
Lyrically, Treays has advanced also as the songs on this album take a more introspective and reflective slant, compared to his observation-ridden earlier songs. The songs Crossfire Love, Sign of the Times, and Police Tapes exemplify this as each song goes for a transcendental and passionate reflection, all with varying styles.
It’s clear also in Trick, the political nature of Jamie’s lyrics. For example, in Tescoland, a very clear punk style is featured throughout with slating of the mundanity of the UK, which quite frankly wouldn’t sound out of place on a Rancid record. Again, in Drone Strike, Jamie keeps elements of early tracks doubled up with hip hop beats and his South London drawl, as he goes for a politically charged sensation of sampling and synths. Album opener Tinfoil Boy also takes a menacing theme ringing true to Jamie’s punk roots evident in earlier songs like Fire Fire.
Self Esteem ends proceedings as the slowest song on the LP for one last hurrah on a solid contender for the best album of 2016. Few Jamie T tracks rack up over 5 minutes in length, and the stark contrast from a young troubadour on ‘Panic Prevention’s 6 minute long closer Alicia Quays and its tales of adolescence, to the musically sincere and progressive end to an equally as spectacular 4th LP is mind-blowing – both lyrically and musically.
In latter songs Sign of the Times and Crossfire Love, Treays gives a more transparent and personal level to Trick, as he takes to a more slow burning style, after the first half of the album really makes you wonder when Jamie’s going to take a break from rattling full speed ahead through beat-heavy punk and hip hop tracks.
On the whole, Trick is not your archetypal Jamie T record. It’s more a mash up of all his previous music to create a truly stellar collection of tracks that are unparalleled and fit together perfectly. Jamie T takes us on a journey over the past few years of his life, as we see his anger, his interests, and the more delicate moments that submerge us into a sublime collation of astronomical brilliance.
Bravo, Mr Treays.
Words by Jasmin Robinson