Released: 22nd July 2022
15 years after he first bounded his way into our hearts with the poignantly poetic ‘Sheila’ and his debut ‘Panic Prevention’, Jamie T returns with his fifth album, and what an album it is. A no-holds-barred glimpse inside the head of one of Britain’s most enduring sons, ‘The Theory of Whatever’ plays out just as its title suggests.
A dumping ground for Jamie’s life, with Polaroid snapshots of the everyday iced with the thick casing of being a bit of a pop star, it’s laced with characters he meets along the way. Countering the lyrics concerning the darker side of life with a soaring melody to offset the feeling of hopelessness is an aspect which consistently shines. Packed with tales of coke-fuelled evenings (ahem, not the fizzy pop), strange taxi rides (the perplexing ‘Thank You’), the murky music industry (‘Between The Rocks’) and just generally running riot in a city that returns the favour ten-fold by uprooting your life whenever it sees fit. As he stumbles over words before they can synapse in his mind, it’s a stream of consciousness in the most exciting way possible. It’s celebratory, it’s down-in-the-gutter, but most importantly, it’s all of the realms in between.
With sounds ranging from acoustic guitar (‘Talk Is Cheap’) to raucous rocking pints-in- the-air anthems (‘The Old Style Raiders’), those elements that first thrust Jamie T forward under the spotlight are all present and correct, but it’s the inclusion of a little bit of everything that makes ‘The Theory of Whatever’ an excellent return – there’s even a chugging punk adrenaline rush (‘A Million & One Ways To Die’). As the album twists from peak-of-the-eve anthems to closing-time laments, the moments that can feel sloppy (tripping over a chord here and there, fumbled lines) are all a part of the brilliance.
A journey that rewards its travellers with the epic ‘Old Republican’, the often long distances between Jamie T releases can feel never-ending, but once he reappears, he shines.