Jamie T – Panic Prevention (2007): Review

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Produced by Jamie T and Ben Coupland
Label – Virgin

When Jamie Treays (A.K.A Jamie T) first announced his intention on BBC ’s hub sessions some years back, the impression of an impoverished street urchin/busker with a drunken chavs patois and a seriously unkempt look, left one sympathetically believing that music was his salvation, and there seemed some justification in offering his material the benefit of the doubt. Since then he’s enjoyed some success, which has obviously led to greater exposure via all forms of media. The true picture begins to formulate that not only is Treays vocal a silly exaggeration, but his background of a middle class secure upbringing in the affluent South West London neighbourhood of Wimbledon, and his education at the expensive Reed’s Private school, belies his intended artistic profile. He has hosted Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show and amongst his song choices of current Indie hot shots, he raided the archives to bring us some of his inspirational artists from the past, which included Carly Simon, Joe Jackson and Tina Turner! Hardly the skankophile MC’s and Punky reggae acts one would have expected from someone who considers himself a street poet? Indeed, on closer inspection, Treays ‘poetry’ insincerely targets the text speak blank generation, the binge drinking, smack headed no marks who associate with the subject matter of his songs. The attitude, the DIY aesthetic, the rough and ready acoustic riffs and cheap drum machine fills seem so deliberately prepared, so carefully envisioned to attract the Mike Skinner/Plan B/Lady Sovereign audience Jamie T is aiming for.

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All the singles are here, including the amateurish “If You’ve Got The Money”, the slightly more fulfilling “Salvador”, and the dreadful “Calm Down Dearest”. Any plus points that are created by the music are downtrodden by Treays excruciating delivery; a mix of The Streets malformed estuary English and a sound much like Alex Turner’s retard kid brother. His rhymes aren’t particularly enlightening either. “Girls singing on the bus, fellas kicking up a fuss, crying out sighs, but they’re still looking dangerous” he sings on “So Lonely Was The Ballad” and on the story of binge drinking “Sheila”, “Sheila Goes out with her mate Stella, it gets poured all over her fella, cos’ she says, man he ain’t no better”. Personally I’ve got nothing against toffs in shell suits, as long as their output is moderately interesting, but “Panic Prevention” is mindless piffle dressed up as crucial street sounds, and for that reason fails to convince anyone with a serious interest in true urban music.

“Panic Prevention” is an ungainly mass of spurious rich boy pretence, ranging from ham fisted rap boy meandering to stumbling provincial hokum, topped by a pathetic stream of pubescent drivel. Add to that Jamie T’s dire vocals and you’ve got a Full House in Clubs and Spades. Smash his CD with the Clubs and bury it with the Spades.

4/10

Track Listing
1.”Brand New Bass Guitar” – 2:08
2.”Salvador” (Jamie T/Ben ‘Bones’ Coupland) – 3:32
3.”Calm Down Dearest” – 4:41
4.”So Lonely Was the Ballad” – 3.50
5.”Back in the Game” – 2:29
6.”Operation” (Jamie T/Ben ‘Bones’ Coupland) – 5:48
7.”Sheila” (Jamie T/John Betjeman/Jim Parker) – 4:19
8.”Pacemaker” – 3:26
9.”Dry Off Your Cheeks” – 5:03
10.”Ike & Tina” – 3:39
11.”If You Got The Money” (Jamie T/Ian Lewis) – 4:04
12.”Alicia Quays” – 6:29

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