For the last nine months, anticipation has been cranked up a notch with the release of each of Jamie Webster’s singles. The big date in July that has been circled for some time has now arrived with the birth of his first album. We Get By is here along with twelve fun and varied tracks that explore important social issues, empower the working class and leave the right wing government ducking for cover.
There’s an air and feeling that hovers over the album that we as a society have had enough of the hand that we are being dealt and Webster is our beacon, hammering the message home. We feel at home with Jamie’s soundbites in multiple tracks throughout the album. Something’s Gotta Give, a sumptuous, heartfelt piece of music as Webster holds court with a gentle melody in the background through his acoustic guitar admitting he’s “sick and tired of the bad news stories, sick and tired of the crooked tories”. Third track on the album, Change asks the same questions albeit with a livelier beat and more forceful melody. The folk-like, Dylan-esque chorus a real standout as we tap and click along in tandem with the warming melody. Out on the Street in contrast flies up the Richter scale as Webster calls to “replace the institution”. The structure of the track along with Jamie’s vocals so impressive and one of the highlights of the album for me.
The record has much more about it than just taking on politicians as fun as that is. The feelings of pride and enjoyment are centre stage in the album and if you haven’t heard This Place by now then I don’t know where you’ve been hiding. The track is a bundle of joy that fills you with pride in the area you’re from. It’s relentless, high tempo beat along with Webster’s passionate vocals pack a hell of a punch. There have been many songs over the years wrote about the city and for my money, This Place will find it’s way in the top bracket accompanying some of the classics. Penultimate number and first single Weekend in Paradise also has that high tempo, guitar driven beat that we have become so accustomed to with Jamie’s work to date. There is relativity lyrically in all of the tracks but this one more than others as we hear a raw account of society’s bingers and the effect of the comedown.
Social and personal issues are a key theme of We Get By and the first two tracks of the album take us into deep waters from the starting blocks. The opener Down the Road, a tale of individuals ambling through their lives with fear of taking chances and chasing their dreams. Living for Yesterday juxtaposes the idea as Webster again asks us to “spare a thought for the working man” but looks at people who duck and dive to chase a lifestyle they lust after, without considering the negative impact on the society left behind. Vocally, Jamie is at his rangy best here for a track that really hits home. Webster also approaches the important matter of mental health in tracks The Joker & Grinding the Gears. The Joker is perhaps the most intriguing tune on the album for it’s soulful nature and shows a side to Webster’s music we haven’t heard thus far. A tale is told of a character that society has abandoned and asks us “what if you were one of the others?” The soothing back in vocals in the closing salvo are well received. Grinding the Gears has such an impressive structure as we set sail on a stormy sea, across the way from Webster as he throws his cards on the table and shows us his hand. The poignancy of the message is stark and really hits home.
Webster is clearly a man of the people and proud of the stock he has been raised from. He signs off in style in the final stretch declaring his pride in coming from a working class background. Common People a clear representative of this notion as Jamie fights the corner of those grafting and trying to make ends meet in jobs for a regime they don’t care for. The title track We Get By appears the perfect way to close the show. The melody both catchy and joyous and lyrically amusing hearing of the boss’s son spoken about in far from glowing terms with him “driving all of the lads berserk”.
Relativity is a key strength in Webster’s armoury and this number showcases that sentiment for all to see.
So I suppose that’s what all the fuss was about then. At the time of writing, the album sits at number two in the charts with Webster’s stock on the rise. There are many more chapters to be written in his story but this already feels like a hell of an introduction.
Listen to Jamie Webster, We Get By on Spotify.