This article may be biased on the basis that seeing Jack Garratt live supporting Mumford and Sons at the Leeds Arena last year was one of those experiences that make you feel like flicking through your own achievements as you watch one versatile, multi-instrumentalist (who is barely a few years older than your average second year student) creating memorable music with a distinctive voice that is, despite the cliché, unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Garratt has also just won the Brit Award for Critics Choice with reviews honouring his defiance of categorisation in music as he merges materials from several different genres and unifies them with his singing. This year will see him tour the UK and perform at Parklife and T in the Park.
Phase, Garratt’s debut album, is unique in the fact that it is hard to place a label on what kind of music is actually is. It’s a blend of indie-pop mixed with techno and electronica with trips and dubstep. He utilises a range of instruments so the music is not only satisfying but interesting too. It’s obvious that Garratt isn’t afraid to experiment and use strange sounds and vocals as seen in ‘The Love You’re Given’. His music expresses a sense of misdirection as he combines dance rhythms with a melancholic voice, random pauses, and explosive guitar riffs after a comparatively quiet verse as seen in ‘Weathered’.
The album opens with ‘Coalesce (Synaesthesia Pt II)’ which displays the sundry quality of Garratt’s music and voice, as it goes from a relatively relaxed and quiet track to an overwhelming and unexpected eruption of synth and bass sounds. Garratt’s lyricism is captivating too as he mixes sentimentality in the lyrics of ‘Worry’ with dubstep atmospheres. The randomness of this album will make or break it for some listeners, along with the bewildering variety of different fast tempo sounds all smashing together as on ‘Fire’. His lack of consistency in genre and instruments such as in ‘Synaesthesia Pt. III’ may be unsettling for those who aren’t open-minded to eccentricity. The track is a collision of techno and electronica, bass-y and twinkling synth sounds and dejected piano.
What’s good about Phase is that Garratt doesn’t feel he must maintain a sense of obscurity with his conclusion to his album ‘My House Is Your Home’ being a simple piano track with Garratt’s powerful and changeable voice echoing in the background. Even if Phase doesn’t go down well with the listener because of it’s unprecedented style, Garratt’s individualism and range of talents are admirable and interesting.
Emily is listening to ‘Like A Fool’ by Viola Beach
Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham’s IMPACT Magazine.