Review: Jack Garratt - Love, Death and Dancing

Music editor Joe Smith reviews Jack Garratt's fantastic second album

Joe Smith
9th June 2020

Jack Garratt's return to music is a glorious culmination of perseverance and survival.

Winning the Brits critics choice award in 2016, Jack Garratt shot instantly into the public eye, everyone expected him to drop one of the greatest albums of all time, at least, that's how Garratt felt. He had just been given an award that, in the past, had gone to the likes of Adele and Florence and the Machine, leaving him some incredibly big boots to fill.

His time away from the chaos of creating music in the public eye allowed him to try and discover who he wanted to be

After releasing Phase in 2016 to high acclaim, Garratt went on tour and then, after struggling with his mental health, he vanished from music, taking a hiatus of sorts. His time away from the chaos of creating music in the public eye allowed him to try and discover who he wanted to be, both as a person and as a musician, with Love, Death and Dancing displaying his growth wholeheartedly. It is an ode to all those who suffer or have suffered with anxiety and other mental health issues and shows the incredible beauty of survival.

Garratt has evolved his ability to combine soulful vocals and eclectic electric rhythms to their fullest potential, creating music that encompasses a plethora of genres such as house and modern pop forming a sound solely unique to himself. The production is outstanding, with each song holding it's own slow build up before exploding into incredibly complex instrumentals.

On this record, Garratt amplifies the highs and lows of his time out of the spotlight, with poignant and moving lyrics being one of the albums finest features. The beautiful 'Doctor Please' is where this album faces its most vulnerable moments, "If home is where the heart is, mine needs repair", Garratt sings mournfully, before the tracks climax sees Garratt questioning if he can be what his wife (I'm assuming) needs. He then takes the lead in an explosive gospel chorus, showing not only his growth since Phase, but also his ability to command a song so effortlessly.

It's this familiar vulnerability that i find makes this album so beautiful

'Anyone' erupts into a mesmerising guitar solo accompanied by the passionate beats of the drum pad that has become a signature part of Garratt's music. Whereas 'Better' is a bright and sonically uplifting dance track, utilising drum patterns and vocal effects to mould an emphatic tune of self doubt. On 'Better' Garratt details feeling insecure that people won't like him, longing to "Swallow something then people might like me better". These lyrics paired with the the tracks upbeat dance instrumentals, embody the familiar feeling of being anxious at a club or party, not enjoying yourself at all and worrying that your feelings will rub of badly on those you are with. It's this familiar vulnerability that i find makes this album so beautiful.

Love, Death and Dancing is an ode to survival. It lets us know that things can and will get better. With this album, Jack Garratt has allowed us access to some of the lowest points in his life, laying everything on the table, and letting us know that we are not alone in our struggles.

Overall, a 4 out of 5

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