After putting out two of the greatest albums of the first decade of the 21st century – 2007’s ‘Panic Prevention’ and 2009’s ‘Kings & Queens’ - Jamie T went awfully quiet. In fact, following a summer of festival shows in 2010 he basically vanished. Was he gone forever or simply hiding out in the studio in his shed, taking some well earned time out?
A few weeks ago that question was answered. The now 28-year-old artist was ready to return, announcing a series of live shows, and with them leading his dedicated fanbase to the correct assumption that music would follow. I’ve spent five years waiting for Jamie T to release new material and now that day has come. Forgive me if I squeal; loudly, repeatedly and at an anti-social volume. ‘Don’t You Find’ – which received its world premiere earlier this evening on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show – marks the comeback of one of the UK’s most skilled songwriters and talented party-starters, but was it worth the wait?
The answer is a resounding ‘hell yes’. On first listen, it doesn’t seem like your typical comeback track, but then Jamie T was never your typical artist. It’s slow, it’s dark and it’s really rather sad. Fittingly however, it’s a song that lets him seep and slink back into your consciousness rather than being rudely rammed there. Like Foals’ ‘Late Nite’ laid over a rocksteady groove, this is midnight music, a sultry four minutes of emotion-bearing beats and dark night of the soul lyrics.
“Don’t you find/some of the time/there is always someone on your mind/that shouldn’t be at all,” croons Jamie, poking out of the shadows, heart first. Whether it’s about a love unrequited or a love lost, the impact is the same, making for a total gut-puncher of a tune, with Jamie’s measured vocals leading into a dubby drop and massive, minor key riff.
There were always two sides to Jamie T – he of the backstreet bangers (‘Sticks & Stones’, ‘Salvador’) but also the fragile, little boy lost balladeer (‘Emily’s Heart’, ‘St Christopher’). ‘Don’t You Find’ seems to meld both Jamies together, with a tough but pensive and ballsy but broken exposition of heartbreak and yearning. So low-slung it’s practically trailing on the pavement, whether this unhurried track will set the pace of the rest of Jamie’s new material remains to be seen, but either way, its a potent first taste of Jamie T in 2014.