Jamie T’s third record, Carry On the Grudge, certainly cannot be accused of being too light-hearted. Seven years after debut Panic Prevention was released, the 28-year-old certainly has moved on from the reckless youthful troublemaker of yore. Whereas in the past he presented himself as someone removed from the picture of London’s lower-classes he painted it appears that during the last five years, his psyche has come to reside on a much more troubled plain, and he has fallen very much into their world. Although far from a positive on a personal level, it certainly provides fascinating material for a brilliant record.
Opening track, ‘Limits Lie’ is slow and brooding with equally melancholic lyrics, telling us that he is “A hurricane/ Came from the thunder, to drag you under/ Make you take the blame.” ‘The Prophet’ carries on the theme of comparing people to destructive elements – this time describing a girl as “a grenade with a pin out at the party,” – and has a similar resigned-to-unhappiness sound. This resignation is again present on closing track ‘They Told Me It Rained’, in which he croons, “Between the birth cry and the death wail/ There’s just houses.” A cheery summary of the significance of modern life.
‘Turn On The Light’ is lyrically strong, telling the story of a sharing loneliness with a tortured artist, the extent of her anguished nature being subtly portrayed by the way she “Kills all the characters and crosses out the heroine.”
‘Peter’ is a standout track, and perhaps is the most revealing of his personal inner-turmoil, telling the tale of a Jekyll and Hyde-esque nihilistic alter-ago. Like the character Peter himself, the song is aggressive, angry and filled with attitude. The backing vocal also brings a vibe that is distinctly evocative of AM-era Arctic Monkeys.
First released single, ‘Don’t You Find’ is a tranquil offering, but soon embeds itself very deeply within the listeners mind to be hummed on repeat. Current single, ‘Zombie’, starts off similarly lilting as ‘Don’t You Find’ and many of the other aforementioned tracks, but transforms after the first verse into a catchy, upbeat indie-rock hit. Lyrically however, he still paints a figure devoid of hopes and dreams “walking like a zombie.” ‘Trouble’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’ are similarly upbeat, and being relatively carefree, (and also the tracks most reminiscent of his riotous signature sound), provide minor respite from the general theme of catastrophic self-destruction and apathy.
Overall, Carry On the Grudge can only be described as introspective tale of a broken and lost individual. Whilst only a couple of songs will please those searching for anarchic energy, each minute is bursting with poetic intrigue and not a single track drifts into filler territory. A solid return from one of London’s finest.