Image courtesy of stereogum.com
Recent winner of the BBC Sound Of 2016 and BRITS Critic’s Choice Award Jack Garratt drops some satisfying beats and fresh vocals on his debut album Phase.
The album starts as it means to go on with opening track ‘Coalescence (Synesthesia Pt.2)’. An initial stripped back, glitchy vibe allows the listener to appreciate Garratt’s raw, emotive lyricism (‘I hope you break my innocence, like you have before’). Then the bass ‘drops’ and the track becomes something that we recognise from the electro-pop singles that we’ve all heard on the radio, comforting us with it’s beautiful blanket of bassy (but not too much) nod-your-head-able beat.
The album continues with a suitable mix of angsty scratching vocals, as if Ed Sheeran DIDN’T get the girl but grew some balls instead, and guilty pleasure synthy pop beats. The singles (‘The Love You’re Given’, ‘Chemical’, ‘Breathe Life’ and ‘Worry’) sound as in place within the album as they do on daytime radio, and there are no out-of-place surprises that lead our pop-loving minds spinning back to the safety of last year’s winner James Bay. Phew.
The production is slick, as you would expect from a big budget debut, and ear-popping techniques (did I just imagine that extreme, switching-all-over-the-place panning?) provide interest beyond the electro beats and heartbroken lyrics.
The BBC described Garratt’s style as ‘soul-infused electro-pop and neck snapping beats’ (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/C9lcVRzhmx1dzHq67SYMBz/1st-jack-garratt). If the soul that’s infused is his own, realised through his teenage poetry lyrics, and the ‘neck-snapping’ is within the confines of bopping along in your car, then they’ve got it right.