A sparkling return with his classic crude indie depravation, Jamie T’s (real name Jamie Treays) blasé “shrug-of-the-shoulders” The Theory of Whatever … is an embracing return from the self-made man.
Many critics denoted Jamie as something of an ‘indie recluse’ or ‘indie hermit’, especially considering his last proclaimed album of his was back with 2016’s Trick. But I think he’s nothing of the sort. He’s been out of the spotlight for some time, yes. But that doesn’t mean he’s been lounging in his decking chair (like the album cover suggests).
Instead, he’s been finding himself.
Plagued by anxiety and issues since even before he was writing for us within an equally toxic industry, he declared to us on his triumphant Glastonbury return earlier this year with a “I don’t give a flying f*ck anymore.” Less so a statement as a traditional cocky music artist, but more so a liberating statement of finding comfort within himself and in his music – it has allowed him to flourish into a new sensibility when it comes to his songwriting, embarking down new avenues that are often surprisingly new and fresh on The Theory.
The song that started this project is The Old Style Raiders. Jagged guitar frags empty out as he bellows Toe the line/hard to find out on the chorus, an anthem-calling to fight for those that mean most to you (have you ever had to walk away / from something that you loved yesterday?). A far more embellished tune than what traditionalists might expect from the follow-up of Trick, a darker monotone album of lost sentiment. But this is an accepting Jamie. It’s more a free-falling experiment drive of seeing what sticks. It drips in nostalgic post-punk swagger where needed with ’90s Cars and Between The Rocks, that complement each other so well. There’s even the staple acoustic of working class living of St George Wharf Tower and of course, the invoice for KORG comes handy with many-a synths getting their use on Keying Lamborghinis and staggering Sabre Tooth to name a few.
While his unbothered attitude comes across just as powerful in his songwriting, he is not kept away from his demons too much longer in his past life and must honour that with some reflective thank yous. Reflective passings on mental health and alcoholism with well.. Thank You and Talk Is Cheap – With all my dirty promises/Honourless/With all my dirty sleeping round/All my gang in town/Plus all the fucking shit I said/I am rudderless/I am rudderless.
Of course, it comes with necessary filler to make up the numbers but that’s what happens when you wander down new paths. Complicated experiments. But it goes without saying, Jamie T is a class act all on his own. Whether he doesn’t encompass that ‘traditional artist’ ethos or not, he is a societal deviation from the rest of all that other chaos. And it’s greatly welcomed.