Album Review: Jack Garratt – Phase


jack garatt phaseReleased February 19th 2016

Words: Lauren Grigor

In the world of digital music consumption, it’s not unusual for artists to release a few EPs before their album. For Jack Garratt, one of my favourite One-Man-Bands and producers, the luxury of putting his best tracks on his album had already been decided; I’ve already over half of Phase because I’ve been listening to all the EPs for over a year now (sorry, they’re mostly disappeared from Spotify these days). Nevertheless, it’s nice to finally have a concise collection of the young Brit’s beautiful and transfixing music.


Its opener Coalesce (Synesthesia Pt. II) begins rather chilled out and rips the carpet out underneath the listener. To those who aren’t familiar with Jack Garratt (Where have you been?), this may be a shock, but for those of us who have been following him since 2014, it gives me goosebumps knowing that I’m listening to his debut album after over a year of spectacular live performances, videos and EPs.


Breathe Life is another we’re familiar with, after coming out October 2015 along with his album announcement, I wrote: “This song brings together his classical musical training as well as his penchant for bass and passion for exploring new innovative electronic techniques. It has a rather simple but catchy melody, feeling slightly more radio friendly – a good move as he’s moving into the masses, he’s going to want a few tracks to bring in new fans and keep his old ones happy. Plus, I can sense a remix or 10 in the making before next year’s festival season” – Nuff said


Far Cry is begging to be remixed into a dance track, and follows his formula of frantic chorus, falling back to a minimal verse that continues to ascend again and follows through to Weathered, featuring a choral-like ambience as intro and a song that soars with surprisingly heartfelt lyrics. Certainly not the first time I’ve heard Worry or The Love You’re Given (pretty sure this is at 400 listens for me) and it’s good that these showcasing songs are featured in his album. Both combining all of Jack’s favourite techniques in music production, vocal expression, lyrical simplicity yet depth, and bringing in his classical piano training. The results are mind blowing.

TLYG continues to be one of my favourite songs. It take me back to late 2014 sitting around with my musician friends and saying “You HAVE to listen to this 10 times right now”. In contrast, I Know All What I Do feels like something we might hear from Ed Sheeran, however it evolves into something a lot more complex than a simple singer/songwriter album filler. Developing with haunting and enveloping sounds and finishing short at 3 minutes.


Surprise Yourself is another that gives evidence of Jack Garratt still trying to nail his exact sound. His falsetto reigns through over syncopated sounds following through to an uplifting chorus featuring piano again. The song builds and brings the two elements together as well as a few layering vocals, stripping down to guitar for a bridge before exploding again. This song is arena sized and very optimistic sounding (dare I say, almost like a Coldplay song).

Chemical, another repeat release, is dark, scattered and a trippy listen. This song gets more intense the better your sound system is and reveals it to be spooky with its variance in vocals and 80s synth use. Fire is one of the more innovative tracks, released a week before the album, it is fast paced and has a few more dub-step elements running through. It amounts to a full-force dance song. I instantly loved it. Where as  Synesthesia Pt. III signifies the end of the most electronic ‘Phase’ (ha!) of the album. Each track is a reflection of how the album is put together. It grows and falls throughout, sometimes in completely random instances. This song encapsulates a lot of these characteristics throughout the album.


Final track, My House Is Your House gives us a more classic sense, featuring Jack’s vocal range at its full strength with a light piano melody underneath. It feels inspired by Chopin in its style as Jack Garratt continues to belt out the earnest lyrics. After everything the album treats us to, I think it’s a nice finisher, reminding us that this talented lad is multi-faceted and sincere in what he does.


Jack Garratt has (literally) produced something unique. His style is still developing but what we can tell is that he is bringing together a myriad of fans of all genres. From pop, indie, electronic & dance and beyond. I’m not afraid to call Jack Garratt a pioneer in his field, even more so now.


Listen to Phase on Spotify here:

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