Vulture Hound is looking back at 10 albums which turn 10 years old in 2017. This week Ben Adset looks back at Jamie T‘s debut album, Panic Prevention.
On the 29th of January 2007 a young chap from Wimbledon created a record which holds a huge amount of importance; lyrically, musically and in production, Panic Prevention is utterly genre defying. At the time there were very few albums breaking into the mainstream that covered the urban decay of real life in the big cities, the only example that springs to mind is The Streets and there are some similar themes covered by both Mike Skinner and Jamie T. Lyrical themes are where the similarities begin to fade, however, as their song writing approaches are very different.
From the off it is clear that this release is born from a deadly combination of brutal honesty, youthful exuberance and raw anger. The first of many stunning things about the release is the raw and changeable musicianship; the opener ‘Brand New Bass Guitar’ combines bass and vocal into a wonderfully messy introduction to an ever changing release. Much like London Calling this is an album that shows its influence through genre changes throughout. In this, much like The Clash before him, Jamie T captured the sound of the streets of London.
This musicianship and its genre switching creates an album that holds the interest effortlessly as it flows through break beat, acoustic, hip hop and pop influences. Some of the hooks are expertly created and there are basslines that would be at home on the most popular of pop records; ‘Salvador’ takes a Michael Jackson style bassline and puts it amongst an urban love story full of smut and grime. Love is a repeating theme, whether the love of a drink or endless tales of lovers lost, but even amongst the darkest of tales there are glimmers of hope. Maybe a sign of naivety or just Jamie’s youthful optimism.
When it comes to other subjects there are much darker images painted. The frank descriptions of manipulation, crime and addiction are disheartening and painfully honest. Urban music is often criticised for glamorisation of these subjects and that is certainly not an accusation that can be made here. There are disparaging turns of phrase where questions and answers are offered but always left to the interpretation of the listener this release can never be dismissed as preachy.
Over all Panic Prevention is an emotional rollercoaster; you will laugh, cry, dance, experience anger and pity. Jamie T is going to make you feel whatever he wants you to feel through his unique turn of phrase and experimental musicianship.
Ten years on this album still sounds fresh and important. It is truly a modern classic.