Phase - Jack Garratt
By Laura Vale
Jack Garratt, the London based singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist has finally released his long-awaited album after a string of successful EPs. Garratt came onto the scene in 2014 with the EP Remnants and has grown in popularity ever since. This album is the chance for him to prove himself as a versatile artist, able to create more than a few songs that capture the attention of the public and to deliver something more refined than before.
The album immediately encaptures the listener with “Coalesce (Synesthesia Pt II)”’ providing a truly synesthesiac experience and living up to its name. From the start you can easily become lost in the heavy synths and bass, providing evident proof of Garratt’s passion from the get-go. It does begin with a great promise to ”open up your mind” and thus creates pressure for the rest of the album to deliver such an engaging experience.
Moving into “Breathe Life”, you can easily be reassured that this promise will be met. The song sets the vibe for the album, with a mixture of existential lyricism and funky electronic vibes, demonstrating classic Jack Garratt remnants. The song gets you moving straight away so can only imagine the intensity of a live performance; it’s catchy as hell, heady, and transcendent. Slowly but surely, however, this promise begins to fail.
“Far Cry” delivers classic EDM, but it feels as though the lyricism and Jack’s voice is overpowered by the constant conflicting change of pace and beats. Each section of the song appears to be a wholly different song in itself. One moment you could be sobbing in your room over a girl and the next you could be in a dingy South London club getting messy. Jack brings it back with classics from his prior releases such as “Worry”, showing his true identity as an artist, but he seems to become lost in many of the other songs.
“The Love You’re Given” showcases his talent as a producer, and the use of the demo grasps you straight away. He does seem to over indulge in many of his songs, as demonstrated by the constant whine in “The Love You’re Given”. You can only take so much of Jack telling you that you won’t accept his love before he becomes your clingy ex-boyfriend. His talent as more than a producer is evident in “I Know All What I Do’ where he finally delivers a pure performance. It’s reminiscent of Francis and the Lights, which is a complete contrast to other songs of his such as “Chemical”, leading you to question whether Jack actually knows where he is headed himself.
By the end of the album you are finally able to access pure, unadulterated Garratt with “My House is your Home”. There is no insecurity in his talent, no need to cover up with big beats and synths. It’s James Blake-esque, but it feels as though you’ve finally gotten to Jack’s core. The shame is that this is all too late, and after the hectic nature of the album you’re left feeling more confused than satisfied.
This is a good album, but it seems all too messy. There are some big tunes in there which have already proved popular, such as “Breathe Life”, “Weathered”, and “Worry”, but many of the other songs seem too complex and over-produced. This proves disappointing after a two year wait to finally get more than a few songs off of the 24 year-old. However, this is his first album and it is promising. We can but hope that in the future Jack will become more refined and can use his many talents in a way which won’t seem as mismatched.