SINGLE REVIEW: The Byzantines — 'Jamaica'


If you were strolling down an East End street in London, on your way to rob a bank, ‘Jamaica’ would be a fitting choice to be blasting in your headphones. The Byzantines have succeeded in writing the type of song that conjures up images of English bad-asses in a Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels kind-of-way.

The Adelaide four-piece have delivered an attention-grabbing single with ‘Jamaica’ and it’s easy to imagine it receiving a lot of much-deserved airplay.  It features a slow groove, accompanied by funky bass-lines and hip-hop-like drum beats.  Throughout it, lead singer (Michael Pietrafesa) spits out some of the most swag-heavy vocal lines I’ve heard in ages – this song oozes attitude.

One thing the guys do well is incorporate the use of electronics in this track.  It complements the song perfectly and successfully adds another dimension which keeps the listener engaged.  Apart from it sounding like it should be featured on the next Underbelly soundtrack, ‘Jamaica’ also gives off a steamy summer vibe, which is perhaps fitting given the climate of its namesake.  It’s easy to imagine life in slow-motion when listening to this. 

The Byzantines are doing the likes of Primal Scream and The Stone Roses proud, while stamping their  unique personality throughout their sound.  Their songwriting abilities have undoubtedly had benefit from European and UK tours during 2014, with a concentrated EP-writing phase in 2015 culminating in the well-polished ‘Jamaica’.  It’s hard not to get excited about whatever else the guys have in store for 2016!


You can catch The Byzantines launching ‘Jamaica’ in Melbourne on June 17 and 19, with them taking over hometown Adelaide, June 25.

Written by Rowan MacDonald

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