Album Review: Jamie T – Kings & Queens (Pacemaker Records)

Richard Osmond 1 October 2009

I first heard of Jamie T in early 2006 when any young indie artist writing about “real life” was labelled “the new Streets”.

Real life, of course, meant name-checking underground stations and writing about kebab shops. To my mind his greatest strength on Panic Prevention was not being the new anything.

After Kings and Queens, though, I’m tempted to say that Jamie T is the new early-Beck, but more aggressive, and without the country influence.

This moniker doesn’t quite have a ring to it, but when the ramshackle percussion of album-opener “368” lopes onto your speakers, or when “Chaka Demus” drops its rattling break beat, the silhouette of the weird evil goat skeleton sculpture from the cover of Mellow Gold is clearly visible on the horizon.

Jamie, however, possesses many things that all these precursors lack (his face, for instance, is significantly less punchable than Mike Skinner’s)but the most notable of these is his vocal ability. Judging by “Chaka Demus”, or “Castro Dies”, the guy can actually rap – not just lazily intone cockney idioms or drawling slackerisms.  His delivery is hot, and buzzing with energy.

This exciting artist just needs to find a way to free himself of the comparisons that were unavoidable when writing this review. Perhaps, when the next album rolls around, he could be the new Jamie T.

Richard Osmond