I bought Kings & Queens on spec after reading a great review in Q Magazine which called Jamie T a cross between Joe Strummer and The Arctic Monkeys. Generally speaking, such comparisons wouldn't sway my purchasing powers but in this instance, I was pleased I took a chance as the general accolades for this young South Londoner are actually deserved (although the comparisons are only probably drawn because he employs a similar wit to both).
Employing rock, punk, pop, and hip hop in equal measure , Jamie T draws you in with sharp hooks, whip-quick raps and huge singalong choruses that get stuck in your head for days. The best descriptive I can come up with for Kings & Queens is eclectic but not so much to be disjointed. Rather, it shows a playfulness and maturity, both in arrangements and production, that brings these disparate influences together very well.
From the acoustic treasures Emily's Heart and Jilly Armeen to the Clash-inspired British Intelligence to the more contemporary sounds of Hocus Pocus and Stick & Stones plus all the tracks in between, Jamie T consistently keeps both his and the listener's interests on high alert, in the best possible way.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
I'm more fond of British rappers than I am of their US counterparts. Big statement, I know, but I find the Brits can do a rant (which is esentially what a rap is) with a tad more humour (with a "U") and some cheeky observations, while the Yanks tend to be mostly, um, angry. The Brits can do misery better than anyone (see: The Streets) but Jamie T is handing out mostly up-beat raps here.
And he can sing. My main problem with the whole rap genre is that so often it's delivered by someone with little or no musical sensibility, just the ability to follow a beat. But this guy can sing and play and write music, so 'spect to him. It's well-produced, well-written, well played and interesting to listen to. What more can I say?
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information: http://www.jamie-t.com/