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Album Review: Jack Garratt – Phase

2 min read

With the previous two years of Jack Garratt’s career focusing on the release of EPs and singles, the lead-up to a debut album has been somewhat rocky. While some notable songs were found on his EPs Remnants and Synesthesiac, there was also a share of material that didn’t quite hold up as well as their partners. Despite this rough start, however, Phase stands as the ultimate correction.

Jack Garratt PhasePhase features a selection of different styles, but ties them together with one major production technique: The songs commonly move between contrasting sections, featuring nothing but piano or minimal beats and vocals at one point before evolving into a filled out electronically supported track, only to dip back into its acoustic stage. This is most pronounced and best handled on Breathe Life, which moves constantly from minimal verses into a euphoric, upbeat R&B arrangement, with the melodies that evolve as the song closes making for its most striking moment; Surprise Yourself feels similarly bright as it enters its chorus, replacing the R&B style with a more electronic focus. I Know All What I Do takes the opposing route, featuring similar minimal verses before morphing into a buzz of electronics and sombre melodies for its choruses. Despite the predominance of tracks akin to this on the album, they rarely wear thin or feel too familiar.

Half of Garratt’s Synesthesiac EP finds its way onto Phase, but despite their relative weaknesses on that release they make a much better impression this time around. The vocal sampling and dated experimental style of The Love You’re Given feels more unique among the surrounding tracks, with its individual style serving as a solid contrast to the other songs. Chemical and Worry, two of the stronger EP tracks, also find their footing here, and sound much stronger in this context than even on their own EPs. As the main tracks that could pre-emptively be classified as the album’s weaker stage, their second chance at the spotlight has been infinitely more successful.

As a whole, there’s little to find wrong with Phase. The collected tracks, both old and new, work well together to create something cohesive with the right level of variety, and even the older tracks find some refreshing new life in this beefier setting. Whether you loved Jack Garratt’s EPs or found them lacking, give Phase a try; it’s sure to impress you.