He’s been away for five years, so you can imagine the excitement when one Mr Jamie Treays announced three intimate shows and his comeback single, Don’t You Find, in one foul swoop this summer. Time, as it has the habit of doing, passed, but finally, the album has arrived. Fortunately, it’s arrived in time to wet the collective appetite of his fans in time for his tour this autumn, and also to answer the question of what has changed since we last had his acquaintance. Would this comeback be of the kind whereby the artist has tired of the sound that made him, and decided to construct an album played entirely on tin cans? Or, has he just been suffering from that ever lurking foe that is writer’s block?
Immediately, its apparent that there has been a change in worldview from Jamie on Carry On The Grudge, though not of the type avant-garde. Opener, Limits Lie breathes the album into life with a dreamlike temperance, abundant melodies and gently picked guitars nestling alongside softly sung vocals. The welcome is warm, but restrained, and it seems that Jamie has finally done what he threatened to do at times throughout Kings & Queens, and grown-up. This maturity is reinforced in Don’t You Find, which provides a bleak window to what sounds a claustrophobic bubble. Trip-hop drum beats and a wonky rhythm combine, trance-like and fragile, until a defiant vocal refrain tears away the veil of vulnerability in an act of defiance. The attitude’s still here.
The maturity of this album is shown in the increased variety exhibited throughout its entirety. There’s the considered acoustic balladry, as in the delicate indie ditty Turn On The Light, there’s the bombastic pop pomp of Zombie, complete with faux horror laughter, and there’s the punk that was promised prior to the albums’ release.
In Peter, we’ve got the split-personality from hell, Tyler Durden in a scruffy Londoner. It seems he doesn’t like much either, as we’re reeled off a list of things he’s not fond with a jackhammer punk rock intensity. Menacing riffs and pulsating drums intertwine with vicious vocals in what is emerging as the prime suspect for rapturous live responses this coming winter. It’s a nihilistic anthem, purpose built to be belted out by thousands, and it’s electrifying.
When he emerged, Jamie T was described as cross-breed of troubadour and punk. It seems, much like the emergence of Peter as an angry alias, these two identities have become more defined as he has matured, resulting in a case of split identities. In totality though, it creates an album with a rich dynamic, the ebbs of raw punk energy being recovered through moments of quiet introspection and intimacy. Five years is a long time in the music industry, but this time, at least, it was worth the wait. Lets not keep us waiting so long next time, Jamie?