Debut albums should be triumphant and forever a standard to live up to and progress from. Hyped up underground singer/songwriter Jack Garratt’s debut album, Phase, is exactly that. Channeling The Weeknd and a soulful blues sound, Garratt’s debut is an explosion of color and sexuality that’s bound to blow up.
The most notable part of the record is Garratt’s vocals. There’s something haunting in his disposition, with a hint of sensuality deep within each meaning. The closure track, ‘My House Is Your Home’ is raw and unprocessed, featuring only his vocals and a piano. The track is unpolished and very much raw, but there was possibly no other way to end an album all about the sentiments of all things relationship. Other songs with notable vocals include ‘Weathered’ with a huge gospel, making Garratt’s soul sound even bigger, and ‘Worry’ which has some lovely R&B-esque harmonies. ‘Chemical’ has some folk chanting in its intro making it feel like Gaelic traditional song before becoming a disjointed electronic ballad. ‘The Love You’re Given’ has a chilling background vocal that serves as more of a sampled instrument than anything else. The hauntingness of the sample compliments Garratt’s pure vocals in the song, too. This album’s lyrics are perhaps some of the best this year has seen so far; songs like ‘Water’ on the deluxe edition and ‘I Know All What I Do’ have some particularly visual lyrics, and are pure poetry.
The album is largely composed of waves of synths, and when raw instruments are used, it’s more often than not piano, while some guitars are used from time to time. The intro track, ‘Coalesce’, has pulsating synths and a certain glitchiness to it in the outro that is reminiscent of Clarence Clarity. ‘Surprise Yourself’ also has a big pulsating synth, though this one has potential to be a ballad rather than a glitchy electronic wall. The album’s most popular song, ‘Fire’, starts off quiet and sensual, but explodes into a massive track by its conclusion.
Jack Garratt’s debut isn’t a revolution by any means, but it is a confident recollection of being in love. He sings with the disposition of a tortured lover, begging for more but fearing it all at the same time. His powerful lyrics soar over epic electronic instrumentals, which makes Phase one of the strongest electronic albums of the year. There is so much emotion resonating from this album that its hard not to feel it. Garratt’s hype didn’t die down, and for good reason. He’s 2016′s iteration of The Weeknd.
Favorite Songs: My House Is Your Home, Water, The Love You’re Given, Fire
Least Favorite Songs: Lonesome Valley