Released on the 3rd October, Trick is a record that spans the full spectrum of Jamie T’s genre-hopping arsenal. Although the album sees the South London born rogue swagger into new territories, elements from all three of his previous full-length releases are present here – his fourth effort boasting both the trademark rap that some felt was missed on his 2014 comeback and the brooding mood established on Carry on the Grudge. Throughout, the lyrics are packed full of rhyming, witty wordplay and thick metaphors. A collection of samples deftly heightens each song they feature on.
At times, Trick is a blisteringly bruising album, unforgiving and unrelenting in the loud assault it subjects its listener too. Openers ‘Tinfoil Boy’ and ‘Drone Strike’ are prime examples of this. With lyrics like ‘it’s times like this I feel tricked into waking up’, the former immediately sets up a dark theme and sinister tone that is carried onto the second track, which, although not quite as heavy, is no less intense.
The almost jauntily groovy ‘Power Over Men’, then, is almost unexpected. It’s silky, laid back pop bounce noticeably diverts the record from its apparent route. This diversity and contrast prevail across Trick, whose tracks chop and churn between murkier numbers like ‘Police Tapes’ and chirpier fast paced riots like ‘Joan of Arc’.
Stand out song ‘Tescoland’ and the sublime ‘Dragon Bones’ offer an even deeper sense of contrast in that they tell of melancholic matters in a manner that makes you want to sing along with a grin on your face.
Helping to complete a vision of our reality that seems almost dystopic due to its grim and bleak nature, Jamie T’s usual collection of urban locals – such as Sheila, Tina, and Peter – have been replaced by a gang of rebellious historic figures. Seventeenth-century street activist Solomon Eagle is perhaps the pick of the lot, his penchant for prophecies of doom echo neatly in lyrics like ‘this is God giving up on us’. What follows in ‘Robin Hood’ is a blatant yet authentic tribute to The Clash that delivers a marvellous sense of chaotic fun.
In amongst the mix of lively and defiant cheer and the gloom-ridden pessimism that makes up most of Trick there are a few softer, more vulnerable moments, the best of which is ‘Sign of the Times’. The first of three chilled out closers ‘Sign of the Times’ is a gut-wrenching ballad that sees Jamie T long to have been ‘a little more exceptional’ and is as self-deprecating as anything he’s ever written.
All in all, Trick is deliciously rough and ready, raw, relatable and really, really quite brilliant.
Pug-Rating: 4.5/5 Pugs