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Jack Garratt – Phase | Album Review

Time to take a listen to Jack’s debut album!

Source: Album Artwork

Jack Garratt rose to fame in 2014 when he headlined the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds. Since then, the multi-talented musician has taken the UK by storm; if you haven’t heard ‘Worry’ or ‘Breathe Life’ played on the radio, where have you been?

His debut album, Phase, is a mass exploration of sound and genre. Soul, R&B, blues, acoustic pop, electronica, dubstep and gospel influences crop up throughout the album. Garratt expertly combines a contemporary R&B style with his signature electronic sound. Most tracks on the album seem to follow a similar arrangement and sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate songs from each other, yet there’s also a wide contrast between some songs, piano-heavy ballad ‘My House Is Your Home’ could easily be featured in a Spotify “chill out/study” playlist while others songs like ‘Chemical’ couldn’t be more different.

Older tracks such as ‘Worry’, which was featured on his 2014 EP Remnants, and, ‘The Love You’re Given’, featured on 2015 EP Synesthesiac, are included on the album and these songs are arguably the strongest. New tracks such as ‘Breathe Life’ seem to be more commercialised and mainstream – to be frank, they could easily be mistaken for a Disclosure song. Through his quick rise to fame has he lost some of the originality and meaning in his songs? Tracks like ‘Breathe Life’, ‘Far Cry’ and ‘I Know All What I Do’ don’t represent the best of his abilities and feel like they are simply included to “pad out the album.”

‘The Love You’re Given’ is a special track that really stands out against any other songs on the album. It’s experimental and exciting as well as movingly minimalistic, the haunting vocal loop, simple piano notes and soft vocals are unique and engaging; it could only be compared to the work of ingenious electronic music producer/singer-songwriter and Mercury Music Prize winner, James Blake

In Phase, Garratt displays his talent as a songwriter; the contentious, stand-out lyrics, “my love is chemical, shallow and chauvinistic. It’s an arrogant display” in ‘Chemical’ are unforgettable. In addition to this, Jack Garratt’s roots in acoustic blues shine through more than on previous EP’s. The song ‘Weathered’ shows this – it is raw, personal and emotional. However, it does sound oddly similar to Ed Sheeran, even the lyrics “When I grow old, I’ll drink and smoke” could easily be Ed’s. The song is also comparable to the work of introverted indie-folk musician Keaton Henson in a peculiar way.

It is about quality not quantity and while it’s possible that Garratt may have been under pressure to create his first full-length album, it may have been a wiser choice to make another EP with a selection of excellent tracks instead of an album with songs that weigh it down in terms of quality, making it in some places, unfulfilling and slightly disappointing. However, this is his first album and it is clear that he is still finding himself as a musician, but overall, it’s a hugely promising debut.

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