Jack Garratt ‘Phase’ Album Review Roundup

March 1, 2016

Jack Garratt’s new album is ‘Phase.’ It’s the British singer-songwriter and producer’s debut and with a string of impressive awards, including the BRIT Awards’ Critics’ Choice award, it is, not surprisingly drawing much notice from critics. Here’s a roundup of reviews.

Jack Garratt

Jack Garratt, at age 24, has made his major-label debut with ‘Phase’ which is out via Island/Interscope. The multi-instrumentalist is also finding his career on an ascendancy, with several high-profile awards, including the aforementioned BRIT Awards’ Critics’ Choice award. He has also topped the BBC Sound of 2016 poll. But that’s not all, add to that the BBC’s Introducing Artist of the Year award and you’ve got a formidable nexus.

And with it, of course, very high expectations on the one hand, and for those just catching up to the big news, much curiosity. He’s been performing widely on television, not just in the UK, but in the U.S. as well, having made his network TV debut last fall on ‘Conan’ and then the coveted ‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ on Leap Day. Needless to say, many, at this point want to know just who he is.

As anyone who’s watched his live performances in person or on the small screen quickly realizes, he’s a one-man band, greatly aided by technology. In an interview with The Guardian, he opened up about this, saying, “I know the way I make music would be sacrilegious to some people.” He went on to reveal that he uses a Macbook with what he calls “a very old version of Logic that I’ve had since I was 18, because I am terrified of change.”

Now the critics are applauding his debut album, ‘Phase,’ which debuted at No. 3 on the UK Albums Chart. His reviews are resoundingly favorable, with the occasional outlier. Here’s what’s being said.

“….Seemingly preordained to hit it big, Garratt created a memorable and moving album of yearning power and deft electronic arrangements, with a dash of British garage and jungle. More accessible than James Blake, less precious than Sam Smith, and less pastoral than James Bay or Hozier, Garratt distinguishes himself by cleverly merging atmospheric electronics with emotional depth…..” –All Music

“… These overly earnest lines [in ‘Weathered,’ ‘My House Is Your Home,’ and ‘Surprise Yourself’] do a disservice to Garratt’s talents as a musician and producer, because the artful melodies and textures on Phase really do shine.

“….Somewhere within all this bombast is a sensitive man who’s trying to explore his flaws and desires candidly. You sense that the thing that he needs is intimacy, a smaller scale. And it’s the one luxury he’s not going to get, because Jack Garratt is too big to fail….” –Pitchfork

“….An album that feels entirely of the moment in a way that isn’t entirely satisfying–and, of course, with vast commercial success, which feels inevitable…..” –The Guardian

“….Phase is a virtuosic, thrill-packed album, ricocheting among extremes before concluding with “My House Is Your Home,” which uses just Mr. Garratt’s voice, his piano and apparently a creaky piano stool. Yet underlying each strenuous track is a clear-cut, old-fashioned pop structure: verses and choruses, tension and release, matters of the heart. But now they are buffeted, brilliantly, from all directions. …..” –
The New York Times

Critics are for the most part heaping praise for an artist who has emerged as an individual which a distinctive style despite all the hype in the landscape of pop music which too often is dominated by brands and would-be brands which are built almost entirely on such hype. Sometimes the accolades and awards are accurate predictors. Time will tell, of course, but he might be one of the major artists of the latter half of the 2010s. You can see Jack Garratt’s ‘Praise’ album cover art and music video below!

Pictures: PR Photos

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