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Jamie T - Carry On The Grudge (Review)

Jamie T, Carry On The Grudge

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

IT’S been five long years since Jamie T’s last album, Panic Prevention, during which time the singer has thought a lot about life, love and career.

His decision to persist with the songwriting, however, proves a wise one as Carry On The Grudge has belatedly emerged as his most mature and likeable offering yet.

Where once he was hailed as the ‘new Billy Bragg’ with elements of The Clash thrown in, he’s expanded that range to include Damon Albarn and Blur. You could almost argue that Carry On The Grudge is his Parklife, albeit a little less populist.

Two things stand out. The lyrical honesty (something of a hallmark for the singer anyway) and the way in which he marries the hard-hitting and sometimes sombre with the catchy. For while he may exist in the darkness a lot of the time (musing on everything from lost love to mortality and the nature of life and fame), he does so for long periods with a keen ear for a toe-tapping, crowd-pleasing and, yes, radio friendly melody.

Hence, former single Zombie may herald a lament at the consequences of not keeping yourself occupied, it’s hugely anthemic with a big chorus and a feel-good vibe. The chorus is great fun, while the early verses hint at the Boomtown Rats style of I Don’t Like Mondays. The chorus, meanwhile, owes a lot more to The Clash mixed with Adam & The Ants and, yes, Blur (courtesy of the guitars).

The Albarn comparisons return on the vocals of The Prophet, another highlight, which yet again paints a vivid picture of a despairing society, while the catchiness is inherent throughout the slick Turn On The Light, which drops another of the LP’s great choruses.

Elsewhere, Mary Lee showcases a more tender, intimate side to his songwriting, which is nicely juxtaposed by the brash guitar hooks and chanting on Rabbit Hole (which, again, conjurs those Clash comparisons).

Love Is Only A Heartbeat Away, meanwhile, is a lovely acoustic number that, again, is deceptively dark lyrically, while Murder of Crows and They Told Me It Rained, with its hypnotic whistling and hang-dog vocals, end the album on two more highs.

There are, obviously, some moments that don’t hit quite the same heights. But in the main, this is a comeback that is hugely welcome and which should serve Jamie T well should he ever have doubts about whether to keep going again. The answer is a resounding ‘yes, he should’.

Download picks: Turn On The Light, Zombie, They Told It Rained, Love Is Only A Heartbeat Away, Rabbit Hole, The Prophet

Track listing:

  1. Limits Lie
  2. Don’t You Find
  3. Turn On The Light [Explicit]
  4. Zombie
  5. The Prophet [Explicit]
  6. Mary Lee
  7. Trouble
  8. Rabbit Hole
  9. Peter [Explicit]
  10. Love Is Only A Heartbeat Away
  11. Murder Of Crows
  12. They Told Me It Rained [Explicit]