Album of the Week: Jack Garratt, 'Phase'


Jack Garratt, 'Phase'
Jack Garratt, 'Phase' (Interscope Records)

Jack Garratt's debut full-length album, Phase, should come with special instructions to do two things:

1. Turn up the volume
2. Turn it up some more

The 24-year-old multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer mixes keyboards, electric guitar and drum machine with his Jeff-Buckley-meets-James-Blake falsetto to create electro-pop gems that work in a club or in your car and result in an immersive musical experience.

Phase stands out for its use of dynamics and tempo. The quiet moments contrast with bombastic cacophony. "Weathered" begins with a simple drum beat and noodling guitar as Garratt sings about love keeping him young before the song explodes into a soaring choir and a vocal that deviates from smooth to an emotional crackling. "Surprise Yourself" starts off slow and contemplative while showing off Garratt's falsetto, rises with the chorus, and then resolves as it started.

Preceding this debut album are two EPs, Remnants, Garratt's debut, followed by Synesthesiac. The Synesthesiac EP is the seed from which Phase has grown; Phase begins with a reprise, "Coalesce (Synesthesia Pt. II)," which is a continuation of Part I from the Synesthesiac EP, and the theme pops up again later on the album with "Synesthesia Pt. III." Another song borrowed from the EP — a standout on this record — "The Love You're Given," contains a striking and haunting soprano vocal refrain that builds over four minutes before disintegrating into fuzzy distortion and synthesizer then returns to the solo soprano vocal.

As a kid who started out wanting to just make noises, Garratt's Phase isn't a gimmicky album. He's got an incredible voice and fluent musicianship to back it up. You hear it on the final track on the album, "My House is Your Home," a stripped-down, minimalistic performance where it's just Garratt, a piano and one mic in the room. And the album fades out just as it began.

Audience ratings for this album

Among The Current's listeners who submitted a rating for this album, 90 percent gave the album 5 out of 5 stars. Poll closed at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 8.

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