The story of Jack Garratt is quickly becoming an all too familiar tale for those first breaking into the British music industry. Much like Michael Kiwanuka, Kate Nash, and Laura Marling before him, he was praised and lauded over as the next big thing on the scene. And with a confident debut album under his belt, not to mention the numerous accolades flowing his way, he was all that anybody would be willing to talk about. And that level of pressure and presence led him into a pit of anxiety-ridden despair that would cause him to completely scrap the follow-up album he had been working on. Thankfully some time away from the limelight did him a world of good as he now returns to deliver his long-awaited sophomore LP 'Love, Death & Dancing', a record that sees him push his formative sound even further than before.
On his debut album, Garratt focused himself on the relatively new and trendy concept of loop pedals, regularly creating his music through a series of sampled loops that he would generate himself live on stage. And while that gimmick had its appeal as a live showcase, on record it felt like he was restraining himself too much. So as we listen through 'Love, Death & Dancing', it is clear that those four years away from the public eye have allowed him to experimental with new and exciting ideas, as this new collection fills itself with a broad and soulful demeanour that feels like he has finally broken out of his shell and delivered something with more meaning and presence behind it.
He may not the hotly-tipped artist that he was at the start of his career, but it feels like that is a far more preferable position to be creative in. 'Love, Death & Dancing' is far more expressive and adventurous than his earlier work and gives us hope that this is him slowly beginning to find the professional guise that is most comfortable to him.