Back in 2007 I was well into Jamie T, even though my friend Rob said his music was like something our coked-up mate Ricky might have made in his bedroom, on a comedown. For me though, that homemade quality was the point. ‘Panic Prevention’, Jamie’s Mercury Prize-nominated first album, was extremely of the zeitgeist: all angst and booze and chatting up birds outside of nightclubs and coming home to bum-out on more bad news about the war in Iraq.

This was music I needed to hear as a lost, anxiety-riddled twenty-something trying to find my way through the thorny thicket of adulthood. If his next two albums (2009’s ‘Kings & Queens’ and 2014’s ‘Carry on the Grudge’) were less memorable, they definitely retained his distinctive voice and showcased his knack of reflecting the mood of the world through the fractured, rhyming mirror of his music. ‘Trick’ is Jamie T’s forth album and he seems to have lost his way for the first half. ‘Tinfoil Boy’, is an angry, rocky lead track that suggests Mr T is heading in a new direction, sound-wise.

The problem is this new sound is a little all over the place (what’s with the ballady ‘Drone Strike’ that sounds a little like a watered down Ed Sheeran record?). That frantic, darkly comic edge and the twinge of psychological instability that seethed under the chords of his early work is conspicuously missing: I’d hardly know this was Jamie T. But then, suddenly, halfway in (around about ‘Dragon Bones’) he’s back with his twisted signature lyrics and spot-on snapshots of life in 2016. By ‘Cross Fire Life’ he finally sounds like himself again, which is a relief, because I was starting to worry this artist had lost his distinctive voice.

What I’m saying is: the second half of this album is great, it’s just a shame it takes so long to get going.


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