Jamie T - Kings and Queens

Hugh Worskett 07/09/2009

Rating: 3.5/5

Jamie T's second album Kings and Queens, as the title suggests, struts about as proud as a peacock. This peacock, however, is a little bit rabid and thinks it's a magpie. And in Earth, Wind And Fire the magpie's been raiding the Johnny Cash Cupboard for the most startling chorus on the album. This willingness to hijack different genres coupled with an ability to bend words to his will makes Jamie T (born Treays) as fresh as ever.

An eclecticism runs through the album that does much to shore up the occasional weakness. The opening few tracks wear thin a little too quickly and it is on the slower songs Emily's Heart and Jilly Armeen that a lack of interesting melody becomes noticeable as the usual lyrical pizzazz fails to emerge. Things pick up again from Chaka Demus through to British Intelligence though and for the most part Treays' complete and total commitment to every syllable spat out (and there are a lot of them so don't stand too close) carries the album at an exuberant pace. There is never anything predictable about the rhythms of his lyrics either; just as you think he's running away with himself he catches the line and stalls it, sending us through the windscreen only to tear off again, collecting us on the bonnet before anyone's had a chance to breathe. Being roadkill has never been better.

Much of this album is hugely enjoyable. The full production, myriad of influences and pleasing changes of pace all build to a nuanced, sometimes sophisticated collection. It bodes well for Jamie T's future development and there is enough meat in here to satisfy for a while.

Release date: 07/09/2009