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Alien on Acid said in Settembre 6th, 2009 at 09:52

Il Guardian e il ritorno di Jamie T

Jamie T: Kings & Queens (Astralwerks)

01. 368 4:43
02. Hocus Pocus 3:30
03. Sticks ‘N’ Stones 4:00
04. The Man’s Machine 4:50
05. Emily’s Heart 4:07
06. Chaka Demus 3:34
07. Spider’s Web 4:44
08. Castro Dies 2:59
09. Earth, Wind And Fire 3:45
10. British Intelligence 3:18
11. Jilly Armeen 3:13

Jamie Treays sings about the important things in life. The exact amount of millilitres of beer it takes to make life worth living. The need to visit Cuba before Fidel Castro dies. The memories of being beaten up that you just can’t shake. Bearing the knowledge that two of your best friends are having an illicit affair while figuring out how to rhyme “intifada” with “Robert Palmer”. And breaking your addiction to the girl who “always went for my friends and not for me”. Jamie T’s great gift, as a songwriter, is his ability to filter the detritus of his own overloaded mind, in order to help us pick through our own.

Not that even Treays finds such a task simple. The Wimbledon troubadour encountered the usual Second Album Syndrome blues as he worried about how to follow 2007’s Mercury-nominated Panic Prevention. Kings and Queens very nearly ended up a Dylanesque acoustic set and/or a take on US hardcore punk before he and his production partner, Ben Bones, realised that doing what they do but better was probably a smarter idea than career suicide. The result is a 43-minute, all-killer, no-filler set of stunners about city sickness, aimless rebellion and dissolving relationships.

It’s hard to pick which of these songs to highlight. It’s perhaps more pertinent to look at the places where Jamie T has made a significant leap of faith. 368 – the one about beer and millilitres – is a crucial starting point, its metallic beat connecting it to the hip-hop influences of Panic Prevention that are less marked here. It’s almost a tribute to both Paper Planes, and the song MIA’s anthem samples, the Clash’s Straight to Hell. From there, it’s easy to hear how much Joe Strummer’s penchant for world music on Sandinista! and Combat Rock informs the frustrated sadness of Kings and Queens, especially on Hocus Pocus (the friends that drag you down), Spider’s Web (illicit affairs, Americans comparing Obama to Osama and the intifada/Palmer gag) and British Intelligence (surveillance paranoia).

More surprising is the deft theft of classic British folk on The Man’s Machine and the ballad standouts Emily’s Heart and Jilly Armeen. The former sees our hero facing the potentially fatal consequences of doing the dirty on a girl with a gun; the latter is deliciously out of character, a self-pitying refusal to write any more songs about a girl who will never return his feelings.

But I’m scratching the surface. This is a great state-of-the-city album, in the tradition of Something Else by the Kinks, Parklife and, of course, London Calling, which effortlessly taps into that alienated young male desire for a riot of one’s own while acknowledging that, when it comes, you’d prefer to be in a drinking den with the cruel girl of your dreams. Because the Kings and Queens here are pawns in disguise. And Jamie T knows exactly how they feel. (


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buzz said in Settembre 6th, 2009 at 17:31

per me tutto tabula rasa………….


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B16 said in Settembre 6th, 2009 at 18:48

The Seldom Seen Kid // Elbow
Franz Ferdinand // Franz Ferdinand
The name of this band is Talking Heads // Talking Heads
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart // The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
XX // The XX
Cameo EP // Zaza
Songs of Leonard Cohen // Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen Live in London // Leonard Cohen
Together through life // Bob Dylan
Les Preliminaires // Iggy Pop
West Ryder Pauper Lunatics Asylum // Kasabian
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix // Phoenix
It’s Blitz // Yeah Yeah Yeahs
In Rainbows // Radiohead
Kid A // Radiohead
Immolate Yourself // Telefon Tel Aviv
Hospice // The Antlers
Go! // Dexter Gordon
Together through life // Bob Dylan
Live from Madison Square Garden N.Y. // Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood
Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW // Fat Freddy’s Drop
Humbug // Arctic Monkeys
Rubber Factory // The Black Keys
The Velvet Underground and Nico (Record Club Version) // Beck
Ignore the Ignorant // The Cribs
Julian Plenti is… Skyscraper // Julian Plenti
Life Like // The Rosebuds


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