Jamie Alexander Treays has been releasing music under the pseudonym, Jamie T, for almost a decade. In this time the 28 year old singer-songwriter had a run of successes, releasing his first hit single If You Got The Money in 2006, collaborating with Lily Allen on his debut album, and being named the ‘Best Solo Artist’ at the 2007 Shockwave NME Awards, beating Jarvis Cocker and Thom Yorke for the title. However, despite these triumphs, we had heard little from Jamie T since his last studio album was released in 2009. Five years on and Jamie T is back with his long awaited, third studio album Carry On The Grudge.
The opening, Limits Lie, is a gentle indie rock tune, with an anthemic sing-along chorus. Mid-way through, the song begins to build, gradually layering the repeated lyric lines and enticing guitar riffs. It swells to a sudden end and is contrasted by the subsequent tune, Don’t You Find, which is slightly darker in delivery, with a more constant beat and reserved, lower vocals. The end of the song swells in a pattern similar to the previous track, but is synth driven and is more laid back in approach.
The verse lyrics in Turn On The Light are spoken in a monotonous constant manner, much like that of La Dispute frontman Jordan Dreyer. The chorus however, is a sweetly sung indie pop melody. At this point in the album it is clear that Jamie T has a very distinctive approach to constructing his music with heavy contrasts, gradually building structures and gentle sing-along choruses, and it seems to be a recipe for success.
Jamie T has cited American alternative rock/pop-punk band Weezer as one of the many influences in this album and this pop-punk sound is definitely evident in the faster paced Zombie. Released as the album’s second single following Don’t You Find, Zombie is an upbeat, sing-along tune which is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, but does have the potential to irritate after a few listens.
In The Prophet, Jamie returns to his spoken-word vocals, which surprisingly come across sounding almost like an alternative-indie Gerard Way. Stripped back to subtle vocal layers and a simple strummed guitar, this track provides some respite after Zombie, but still gently builds towards the end, introducing some very light piano and percussion accompaniment.
Near the middle, the album develops some momentum. With a faster beat and the odd 90s hip-hop element, Trouble is one of the more feel good tunes, followed by the sing-along, clap-along Rabbit Hole, both of which entice movement and are easily enjoyable.
Peter is a heavier, slightly aggressive track, whose very cool production would certainly appeal to Arctic Monkeys fans. Then come the gentle acoustic, indie-folk tracks, Love Is Only A Heartbeat Away and Murder Of Crows. Jamie’s approach of genre spanning and contrasting shows a very considered construction of this album, and caters easily to a range of audiences and tastes.
While it may not be an album of top ten hits, Carry On The Grudge is certainly worth a listen. The past five years have allowed Jamie to construct an album with careful attention to detail and easily demonstrates Jamie T’s profound talent as a songwriter.