More about: Jamie T
Jamie Treays, better known by his stage name Jamie T, had just turned 21 at the time of the release of his debut album Panic Prevention in 2007. Back then, he was a ballsy raconteur spitting vivid, often miserable tales of the city that sonically overlapped spat-out rap delivery and chaotic indie-punk guitars.
Musically, this was an album both fluid and eclectic in its sound, containing a wide mix of musical styles including indie-rock, ska, punk, rap, hip-hop, folk, and electronica. This week (28 January, to be exact), it turns fifteen — and gets a special re-release to celebrate.
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Should you be versed in indie lore, you will know Panic Prevention, and that it has gifted us some of the best indie tunes of all time. Three singles were released in anticipation of the album they appeared on: ‘Sheila’, ‘If You Got the Money’ and ‘Calm Down Dearest’. Reaching Number Nine in the UK Charts, the latter became Treays' first Top 10 hit. Panic Prevention, following two weeks later, soon went on to peak at Number Four in the UK Album Charts.
It is an iconic, yet oft misunderstood album.
Inspired by Treays' open battle with panic attacks and general anxiety (a rare topic of conversation in 2007), little attention was paid to the overlying theme of panic disorder (‘So Lonely Was the Ballad’ even samples an anxiety disorder tape as an interlude) in reviews at the time. Instead, the album became known more for — and tied in with — its lad antics, masculine bravado, binge drinking, drugs, and tales of inner-city youth culture.
The album as a whole — like most of Treays' work to date — is incredibly thought-provoking, but also quite dark. Jamie T classic ‘Sheila’, which is arguably one of his most well-known songs, boasts plenty of witty commentary that disguises a dark tale. The song follows three tragic short stories: the titular Sheila is embroiled in a life of violence and drink, Jack ‘The Cracker Man’ is shot to death, and Georgina dies from an overdose.
This sense of gritty authenticity is one of Panic Preventions major strengths. The stripped back bass-guitar and spoken-word tracks like ‘Back in the Game’ and ‘Brand New Bass Guitar’ are nothing but a man with a voice, some lyrics and a (“cracked up piece of shit called the”) bass guitar.
At the time, Panic Prevention received a nomination for the Mercury Prize, losing out to Klaxon’s nu-rave album Myths of the Near Future, which was released on the same day. But in the decade and a half since its release, Panic Prevention has proved itself to have more sticking power, having since been passed along to the next generation of teenagers who still swarm Jamie T shows and the indie disco dancefloor to chant: “Sheila goes out with her mate Stella…”
Since 2007, Mr. T has been here and there: after the release of his second also-rather-excellent studio album Kings & Queens in 2009, Treays took a five year hiatus. In 2014, he bounced back, releasing his long-anticipated third studio album Carry on the Grudge, a fourth studio album Trick in 2016 and a B-sides collection called B Sides (06-17) in 2018.
Though he's not released anything recently, things are about to change. On 20 January, Jamie Tweeted for the first time in nearly four years: a photo of a croissant on a plate seemed to reference Panic Prevention's opening sample: "fucking croissant!". On 3 January, producer Jag Jago Tweeted something himself: "Jamie T album 5. Done." he wrote. The new album, for which we currently have no more information, will be Jamie’s first since 2016’s Trick.
Coming fifteen years after the release of Panic Prevention, we hope Jamie T 5 revisits some old tricks. 2014's Carry On The Grudge brought about a more refined and polished Jamie T, and though it and Trick are great albums, it’s tough to compete with the authenticity and chaotic poetry of Panic Prevention.
Issue Four of the Gigwise Print magazine is on pre-order now! Order here.
More about: Jamie T