Friday, February 19, 2016
Album Review :: Jack Garratt - Phase
February 19 2016 (Island Records)
Words: Conran McMullan
One of the most hotly anticipated albums of the year has finally dropped! If you haven’t yet heard Jack Garratt’s name, then your whereabouts for the past few months must come into question. In October the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer announced a headline show at London’s Brixton Academy, swiftly followed in November by winning the Brit’s Critics Choice award for 2016 in November. The New Year brought with it continued acclaim winning the BBC Sound of 2016 poll.
The hype surrounding the release of ‘Phase’ puts a high pressure on Garratt to deliver, however the results are somewhat mixed. His talent is clear, though at times the influence of a label more concerned with sales than the unique ability he possesses are unmistakable. The track list is littered with previously released singles, including ‘Worry’ which was first released on his 2014 ‘Remnants’ EP.
‘Phase’ opens well with ‘Coalesce (Synesthesia Pt. II)’ showing the sound that Garratt is now expected to offer. Influences from James Blake and Mumford & Sons are obvious in this mix of R&B drum beats, synths and rasping vocals. The standards are now set and, although the album is highly accomplished, the rest of the album lacks the excitement and instrumental exploration witnessed during his live shows.
Highlights include ‘Far Cry’ which starts from with churchy piano before chopping between rave synths and a pop chorus, as well as the recently released single ‘Fire’ which, despite not being able to work out whether it’s pop, hip-hop or electronic dance, still manages to earn it’s title.
Overall it can’t be denied that Jack Garratt possesses a great talent that is sure to cause waves in the industry. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that he’s at his best in front of an audience with a floor covered in loop pedals.