When Jamie T released his first album in five years last year, it was one of the greatest comebacks in history. Carry On The Grudge was more than a successful album– it signified the return of Jamie T to alternative indie rock. The man’s songwriting skills are beyond compare, and somehow, he always falls just outside the traditional radar of indie rock and expanding a bit further into alternative, indie hip hop.
While Magnolia Melancholia is just an EP release, the six-song album is still fantastic. It’s great to see that Jamie T’s songwriting hasn’t fallen by the wayside in his absence, and that the music he makes, though moving in a different direction from the Kings and Queens and The Man’s Machine albums we know so well.
Magnolia Melancholia opens with grim and somewhat dark “Don’t You Find,” setting the tone that the title of the album already suggests. The beats are heavy and dragging, almost sludgy with still somewhat experimental, familiar in the sense that it reminds slightly of Portugal. The Man’s Evil Friends album twinkle throw-ins, but not so much that the high notes take away from the song. “Marilyn Monroe” is more upbeat, but still suggestive of bleakness.
Jamie T’s voice is as unique and strong as ever, delivering the lyrics with confidence, forcing the audience not only to listen, but to hear.
The titular song is slow too– unlike his previous releases, this EP pushes some of the slower ballads, and also focuses more intensely on drums and the backbeats. “Magnolia Melancholia” and “Riverbed” are both heavy-sounding songs, lacking some of Jamie T’s previous alt hip hop influence and sound. Still, that wasn’t the only thing he did, so his growth and change feels natural, something that’s easy to accept.
A pleasure to listen to, I can only hope that Magnolia Melancholia is a hint of something greater to come.