Jack Garratt is in possession of quite the double-edged sword. Having already won a BRIT Award and been dubbed the unofficial sound of 2016, he’s in an undeniably favourable position. Being plonked on a such a pedestal so early on could, however, stand to be a pretty nail-biting affair.
After taking a dramatic career detour from primary school teacher training, Garratt released his first EP ‘Remnants’ last year and quickly racked up quite the array of praise. Now, 2016 is welcomed in by the release of his first full-length.
Falsetto-fused electronic and drum ‘n’ bass wizardry explodes from the very beginning of ‘Phase’ in ‘Coalesce (Synesthesia Pt. II)’ and rests comfortably on tracks like ‘Chemical’, whilst a standout duo of smooth movers ‘Worry’ and ‘The Love You’re Given’ manage to calm matters down. Garratt really takes the songwriting transition of slow builds and euphoric bridges into gigantic choruses - as demonstrated in ‘Weathered’ - to another level of continuity, which, while not exactly bland, soon does become a little predictable throughout the record’s span.
The impressive one-man band excursion Garratt fulfils live, however, is something that ‘Phase’ attempts but, at times, struggles to replicate on record. Regardless of high profile record deals, award nominations and accolades, ‘Phase’ does come about as close as you can probably get, but still feels frustrating at times. There’s no doubt that the record’s production is second to none and Garratt’s talent is as obvious as an Uber driver’s Sat Nav, but his USP is somewhat dimmed by hours and hours of carefully chosen layers, vocals and everything else in between.