Review: Jack Garratt – Love, Death & Dancing

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Mesmerizing

Garratt's sophomore album is one to play on repeat all summer.

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If you are a fan of Indie Pop or Electronica, it’s likely you’ve heard of Jack Garratt. His newest release Love, Death & Dancing scraps everything you thought you knew about the singer-songwriter, though, as it demonstrates the beginning of something new. Whilst incorporating much of the talent heard on Phase (2016), his sophomore album breaks barriers which his debut set up, to deliver 12 entirely unique, energizing and potent tracks.

An aspect on Love, Death & Dancing which is most striking is its range. Where Phase presented 12 songs, all but one being the perfect tunes to dance to with their electronic beats, Love, Death & Dancing takes much more influence from ‘My House Is Your Home’. This single from Phase stood out from the rest, but the sophomore album embraces its themes within the final tracks. ‘She Will Lay My Body On The Stone’ is a particular example, where the piano chords instantly strike similarities to the earlier single. Both include gorgeous chords which cause shivers on listening, and the lyrics of both demonstrate pure artistry as Garratt sings out his love to (presumably) his wife.

Alongside embracing the quieter, more acoustic tones delivered by the piano, Love, Death & Dancing also expands its use of timbre and energy. As aforementioned, Phase delivered perfect dance-worthy tracks, but the newest album increases this as every single song sounds best when played at the loudest volume. The timbres heard are addictive, and Garratt’s use of volume is extremely impactful. If you’re wondering just how powerful volume can be, listen to ‘Anyone’ – beginning lightly, the chorus is then entirely unpredictable. It’s completely addictive and impossible to listen to just once.

The singer-songwriter states that the album is one “which I have tried to unapologetically create a voice that represents myself. It is both a call and a response, simultaneously being the labour and the fruit”. And, there couldn’t be a statement truer than this, as Love, Death & Dancing is the first piece of work released by Garratt which embraces his vocals entirely. No longer hiding behind extraordinary timbres, Garratt’s voice has never been louder – and it’s perfect. The quieter, final tracks are best at highlighting the power of his vocals, but it’s also evident throughout. ‘Circles’ and ‘Anyone’ demonstrate this perfectly, with Garratt’s smooth and gravelly voice being worked to the max, whilst also engaging his higher register.

Listening to Love, Death & Dancing from start to finish allows you to experience the full effect of each incredible skill demonstrated. Starting off energetically and finishing emotively, this album illustrates all that there is to love about music.

If you’re looking for something to dance to, to cry to, to love to, to live to, then look no further. Love, Death & Dancing is the perfect soundtrack to your summer.

Love, Death & Dancing is out now via Island Records. 

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Live Editor 2019/20 & second year English student. Can usually be found procrastinating my degree at a gig, or trying (and failing) to complete my Goodreads challenge

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