Jack Garratt is the slightly underwhelming man of the moment, having scooped up every up-and-coming award available from an industry looking to protect its investment – even if there is, by implication, less investment required in a solo artist than a band.
Jack Garratt | ABC, Glasgow | Rating ***
There was something of the mad professor about Garratt’s curious electronic one-man band set-up – now with additional analogue elements, including a drumkit. Ensconced in his on-stage cocoon with his playthings at arm’s length, he often came across like the bedroom boffin pandering to his whims with little thought to an audience.
And yet the audience were on side, almost egging him on as he indulged in frilly R&B piano riffs and loops, attacked his drums like a kid on the biscuit tins or mashed up Craig David and Justin Timberlake tracks with a confidence and likeability which exceeded his natural abilities.
His bells and whistles performance was as a smokescreen to cover for the mediocrity of his songs, tuneful enough but mostly unremarkable things given a trendy, glitchy electro gloss. Garratt is the maximalist extension of Ed Sheeran and his loop pedal.
Eschewing encores, his climactic party piece was to beef up Worry with playful guitar shredding and a shuddering beat, but his most successful laboratory experiment was the alluring, ethereal R&B of The Love You’re Given, which exploded with a juddering electronic thunderclap. More of this dynamism and Garratt may appear as less of a novelty.