Released: 29th May 2020
‘Love, Death & Dancing’ is a serendipitous statement about learning how to accept the vicissitudes of life whilst coming to grips with rediscovering who you are after you’ve faced your demons. Wholly a soundscape which demands that you move your body, Jack Garratt heavily relies on the classic blueprints of popular music, and switches out the lo-fi electronica which we saw on his debut with an unapologetically rapturous catharsis in the form of funk-inflected pop.
‘Doctor Please’, ‘Mara’ and ‘She Will Lay My Body On The Stone’ offer subdued moments of respite from the cacophonous choruses and showcase a triumph in the simplicity of his voice which on ‘Get In My Way’ take on an animalistic tension as they growl between each ear. Paired with his honeyed falsetto, it’s almost as if tapping into these two aspects of himself is an actualisation of the war that has been going on in his head.
Despite the poignancy of his lyrics sometimes feeling buried beneath the weight of the music, ‘Better’ is an example of when he hits the nail on the head. With an opener that feels like a nod to Die Antwoord’s ‘I Fink U Freeky’, the song serves as an anthem on living with your mental health struggles and finding coping mechanisms that aren’t self-destructive. It serves as a perfect example of having a euphoric pop song which is simmering with gloomy lyrics that almost go amiss.
Coming to terms with mortality is the crux of the album, and perfectly summarised in the mirroring lyrics of both Return Them To The One – “I am alive here / but I am not permanent / I am reminded by my pain / that I must remain here / until no more life remains” and ‘Only The Bravest’ – “you are not permanent / but you are here,” which brings us full circle into Jack Garratt’s journey of combatting his struggles and coming out the other side, a changed man.
Tyler Damara Kelly