(If you like: Chet Faker, Ed Sheeran, Son Little)
As the saying goes, if you want something done properly, just do it yourself.
British multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt takes that to heart when writing his music. A guitar, a keyboard, a drum machine, and a soulful voice make up Garratt’s toolbox on his debut record Phase. Combining elements of electronic, alternative, and heart-felt lyricism, his music is something heard before, but in a refreshing way.
All of the songs from Phase share a similar resemblance: trembling bass drum, blues-inspired guitar riffs, and Garratt’s cool, British vocals that can turn on a dime into something bigger. But even with the subtle cookie-cutter recipe, each song has its own character and charm that keeps the listener on his or her toes.
The varying electronic textures alternate from light and glistening, to trembling and rugged. Opening with “Coalesce (Synesthesia Pt II)”, the singer-songwriter sets the tone for the rest of the album; soft beginnings are not safe – there is something heavy coming. Garratt uses pauses and key changes to their potential, building anticipation for the coming notes and triumphant choruses.
Garratt’s song writing marries together pseudo-gospel with future-R&B and dance. “Breathe Life”, and “Weathered” exemplify the blend perfectly with swelling keyboards and organs, and prominent chorus builds. Lead single “Worry” which was originally from his 2014 Remnants EP, brought attention to his outstanding individual efforts as a solo performer. His ability to coordinate the highs and lows of each instrument while laying his crisp, soulful voice overtop allows his music to vibrate and resonate throughout the mind, body, and soul.
Although most of the album centralizes around Jack Garratt’s English singer-songwriter delivery, he allows his instruments to take over on a number of tracks in the second half. “The Love You’re Given”, “Surprise Yourself”, and “Chemical” dabble in the chill-step and electro-dance genres, giving Phase a sudden burst of electricity and variance. “Fire” is a diamond in the rough with a complete overhaul of electronic flare.
It is no surprise that BBC named Jack Garratt the sound of 2016; his fusion of the most striking and popular genres has a massive effect on the intensity and display of passion in his music. And although he is at his best when balancing his guitar, drums, and keyboards, Garratt leaves a raw performance for the end with “My House if Your Home”, illustrating his stripped musical talent.
Head to his website for more information and to order a copy of Phase, and to find his full list of tour dates.