This summer is shaping up to be a career-skyrocketing one for musician Jack Garratt. Releasing his latest EP, the notably bearded artist will open for Mumford & Sons for two dates in Canada. With a sound that is both synthetic and folksy, Garratt has found a way to break the mold created and reigned by singers like Passenger.
His latest release, “Synesthesiac,” melds together a variety of new age sounds of Bjork-like proportions with soft vocals along the lines of Hozier’s more acoustic work. The simple fact is Garratt’s latest piece is unlikely to be pinned down into any genre. Moments of R&B completely obstruct any ability for listeners to box this multidimensional producer into any format.
On “Synesthesiac, Pt. 1,” Garratt exemplifies this versatility with electric infusions and instrumental prowess. With no vocals, Garratt relies solely on the power of synthesizers and the hollow use of static sounds, Garratt successfully attempts to establish the EP’s atmosphere. Its mellow tone is hazy and dreamlike.
On “The Love You’re Given,” what begins as an echoing whistle ends in an increasingly danceable R&B track. High- pitched, the Passion Pit-like opening vocals of “The Love You’re Given,” quickly explode into electronic mayhem. This chaos though is a swift and acceptable moment given the track’s overall steady beginning. It captures an unexpected climax perfectly.
“Chemical” finds Garratt closest to the folk genre. However, like “The Love You’re Given,” these moments of simplistic guitar-and-vocal sound leaves for a Kiesza-like ‘90s breakdown. Then, as if to further confuse listeners, Garratt backs up to the previous sound for moments more. The toying of “Chemical” is constantly present and provides an interesting listen to audiences.
Lastly, there is “Lonesome Valley.” Beginning through what seem to be low-quality, radio-gritted background noise, the track increasingly adds beats as the pace lightens and amplifies. Perhaps the most appealing song off the EP, “Lonesome Valley,” is most in line for a mainstream audience despite its quirky rhythm and vocal construction.
Overall, while various moments on Jack Garrett’s new EP may leave listeners more stumped than excited, the fearlessness it takes to release something so versatile is an undertaking worth noting. “Synesthesiac” is surely an EDM producer’s dream as one can easily see a dance remix in the future. And for listeners ready to hear something new and interstellar, Garratt’s artwork is a good place to start. With just enough catchiness to attract larger audiences, each piece off the EP is enough to get by.