After five years away, Jamie T’s long awaited return gave us one of the best albums of last year: the sullen, poignant, intricate Carry on the Grudge. But, thankfully, we didn’t have to wait another five years for new material as we see the release of the Magnolia Melancholia EP containing three new originals and two covers, as well as the beautiful ‘Don’t You Find’ from last year’s full length LP.
On Magnolia Melancholia Jamie T quite literally carries on the grudge, continuing and expanding the moodiness of last year’s album as he takes us through six brilliant tracks. ‘Marilyn Monroe’ evokes memories of the bounciness of ‘Zombie’, but in a dirtier, rawer form, and the stomping anthem ‘Riverbed’ builds faster and more impressively than the Germans built the Berlin Wall. The two covers only serve to add to the EP as well – the stripped back version of The Replacements’ ‘The Bastards Of Young’ is chilling, sparse and filled with reverb, and the fuzziness of ‘Mama Don’t Smoke’ echoes the home-made sound of Jamie T’s earlier material.
But it is the title track that turns this EP from something brilliant into something sensational. In the verses he slowly raps, basically the first time we have heard him do so in years, and with the chorus’ slurred vocals (ignoring the lack of frantic energy) we have the most old-school Jamie T-esque song since Kings and Queens. With the bridge comes a change in tone – the slight melancholic (pun intended) sound is blown to immense proportions, as Jamie cries “I guess I just miss my friend” giving us one of the most heart breaking – and strongest – songs he has ever produced. Just another brilliant release from one of England’s finest.