The last time most of us wailed along to Jamie Treays’ howling lyricism, we were 16 and stupid; drunk off the euphoria of long, empty summers, and the promise of what was waiting for us once we broke out of our shi**y home towns. Five years later, with a broken heart in tow and a lengthy stint in rehab under his belt, Jamie T is undoubtedly ‘Back In The Game’, with the same gritty, blunt lyrics layered over familiar ska-punk guitars. Audiences captivated by him in their mid-teens are now in their 20s and undoubtedly thrilled by the return of the gap-toothed prodigal son who encapsulated so much of their directionless youth.
Despite an extensive absence from the spotlight, the Wimbledon singer shows no signs of having mellowed during his time out. Now pushing 30 years of age, Jamie T returns with his third album, in which he vocalises the same emotional frustrations and anxieties of Panic Prevention and Kings & Queens. The purposeless, directionless cynicism that characterised Treays’ earlier albums is still very much present, with tracks like ‘Turn On The Light’ telling of his dwindling vigour. Add to this a tumultuous break-up, with tracks like ‘Mary Lee’ leaving little to be deduced, as the man croons, “Whenever I sleep on the pillow, I hear her breathe”.
Whilst this lack of personal growth may seem depressing, it’s still boldly honest. Carry On The Grudge is a frank portrayal of the unsettling realisations most of us face in our twenties; having spent our teen years wishing our way out of where we’re from on the promise of what we’d become, we’re still aimlessly searching. Still directionless, Jamie T continues to encapsulate this anxiety, in a dark record filled with tales of self-doubt, “I’m a sad, sad post-teen… no dream, come clean, walking like a zombie”.
The new album shows some signs of maturity, most notably on ‘They Told Me It Rained’, but songs like ‘Peter’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’ confirm that Treays still isn’t comfortable in his own skin. This pendulum swing between not-quite-poignant pensiveness and youthful wailing perfectly captures the uncertainty of coming of age.