Jack Garratt Takes Us Into His Electronic Soul with Phase

Featured Image by Steven Turvey

Debuting at number 3 on the UK Album Charts in February, English singer-songwriter Jack Garratt’s first full-length album Phase is being hailed as a breakthrough for the frenziedly hyped alt-blues artist.  After a successful release of his 2014 single “Worry,” playlisted by BBC Radio 1, and a series of festival appearances throughout 2014 and 2015, Garratt was selected as the winner of the Critics’ Choice category at the 2016 Brit Awards.  So much acclaim in such short a time had us itching to dive in and check this guy out for ourselves.


Album Art courtesy of the Artist

On Phase, Garratt paints an oftentimes vacuous backdrop with a smattering of sounds—whether he’s isolating or manipulating instrumentation, electronics, or vocals, Garratt is evidently unafraid of expressing vulnerability in his music.  The 24-year-old’s propensity for sound manipulation is not at all new, as stated in his January interview with BBC News:

“I just really enjoyed making noises and really enjoyed the reaction that I got from making those noises.  So they [parents] put me on music lessons to encourage me to hone in on that talent rather than show off.”

Perhaps the standard for the overall skeleton of Phase, “Worry,” a single which proceeded the album’s release by a full two years, immediately conjures a vocal sensibility comparable to fellow Brit and soul-spilling tenor, James Blake.  Perhaps offering a more aerated take on the blues/electronica lovechild that we see more and more often in popular music, Garratt is as equally low-key as he is heartfelt on this track—it’s the type to which we could either dance or cry, depending on the day.

Phase begins in a way that almost makes you forget that Jack Garratt is a soul singer.  The opening track, “Coalesce (Synesthesia Pt. II)” is a Disclosure-esque mini mind warp—quite literally a plea to open up the mind.  We’re almost not ready for the razor-sharp chorus. It’s fair warning, to say the least, as just two minutes in the chorus halts and the listener is levitated gently into the warbling ambience of “Breathe Life.”  Perhaps the best-praised track on Phase, “Breathe Life” is an unexpected marriage of bright and amorous soul layered over a highly-digitized deep-ticking bass-line.  Jack Garrett is frighteningly catchy on this track; for a moment, he seems to step back from the mic, revealing himself as not just a vocalist but a multifaceted musician.

The slowly-stepping and enunciated “Weathered” is characterized by a strong and passionate lower range, similar to that of Bastille or even Florence and the Machine.   Despite his newbie status, the Buckinghamshire native seems to get bigger and bigger every day.  Since signing to top pop star-touting label, Island Records, UK, Jack Garratt has proven himself to be nearly unstoppable.  At the 2016 Brit Awards, Garratt’s music was described as a “genre-defying blend of electronica and soul.”  Truly this is what makes him so special.  It’s never been so and so DJ/producer featuring Jack Garratt; it’s just Garratt—the vocalist, the sound engineer, the songwriter.  To say he’s a Jack of all trades would be, well, undeniably accurate on all accounts.

You can stream Jack Garratt’s latest release, Phase, below.

What did YOU think of Jack Garratt’s Phase? Tell us in the comments below!



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