Sound — 10
Jamie T's (real name Jamie Treays) sound is much like what a fight between The Clash, The Sunshine Underground and The Streets would sound like. Backed by the impressive Pacemakers, his backing band and partners in crime, he paints a bizarre sonic picture with which to underpin his 21st century poet laureat lyrics. Funky, pumped up basslines thud over the ghetto drum loops and keyboards are smattered over the songs like kooky glockenspiels. The music is perhaps more accesible than the lyrics and the catchy rhythms of sngs like 'Sheila' and 'Salvador' are bound to have girls in polka dot dresses dancing at indie nights up and down the country, but the real talent lies in Jamie T's solo sections. Armed with nothing but his voice and a single acoustic bass guitar, the intensity in the sparseness on masterpieces like 'Back In The Game' is why this album is going to be remembered.
Lyrics — 9
Unfortunately, in many places on this album, the delivery of the lyrics overshadow what they are saying. In an often cod jamaican sometimes painfully uncool accent, Treays half raps about working class life, working class characters and the over riding theme of panic attacks and tragedy. The lyrics themselves are fantastic and never fail to hit a chord of empathy from anyone who has experienced their subject matter. From the horrific downfall of an everyday Jane Doe in 'Shelia' to the desperate, drugged up hell of 'Calm Down Dearest', from the paranoia and knife edge tension of 'Salvador' to the cheeky chappy banter of 'If You Got The Money', this album delivers in terms of sheer lyrical wit. It's just a shame that he refuses to sing (which he can do, and brilliantly at that) as well as he can write.
Overall Impression — 9
As the godfather of the indie Thamesbeat scene which he has carved out for himself along with Lilly Allen, Jamie T is unrivalled and this album will surely be remembered as the one that paved the way for the likes of Jack Penate, Remi Nicole and Kate Nash. it's hard to pinpoint a peak of it's greatness, because there is genuinely not a bad song or a song that cannot be loved on it. If pushed I'd say the adrenaline rush bassline and chilling breakdown of 'Operation' set it a cut above the rest. Like all great albums though, this has it's flaws and will never be the perfect debut it could have been. But then, would we love The Libertine's, Franz Ferdinand's or Arctic Monkeys' if their first albums were perfect?