When Jack Bratt released his debut solo single by way of “Spades” back in April of 2020, it was clear that something special was on the way.
Having been a prolific artist for close to two decades, having performed in countless bands, and having even rubbed shoulders with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith with his band, the Golden Age of Ballooning, he had the drive, inspiration, and motivation to unveil a truly stunning debut.
But could he do pull it off? Countless artists have spent years working towards a debut, only to fizzle out once their preliminary singles fail to be followed up by anything substantial or, in a word, better. But for Bratt, it was clear that only the best would suffice.
Having first recorded solo tunes as part of the application for the 2019 Grant McLennan Fellowship, cancelled plans for travel in 2020 soon gave rise to much more time and the desire to grab opportunity by the horns. Working with producer Joel Myles, Bratt put his head down and emerged with a 10-track album, Slow Release.
Partially named for the slow release of anti-anxiety medication, and partially a reference to the long wait for a debut solo album, it’s a record that can only come as the result of countless years spent as a dedicated artist and music-lover.
Described as a “linear snapshot” of the last seven years of his life, Slow Release is equal parts heartfelt, powerful, emotional, and intricate, with Bratt thematically diving into countless “unanswered questions” as he attempts to put things into perspective.
But of course, it’s not just a record that’s written well, it’s also a true masterclass in composition. With Bratt taking on most instruments himself (save for additions from Myles, drummer Michael Grabbe, pianist Jonothan Bolt, keyboardist Benjamin Van Jole, and cellist Rob Knaggs), it’s a warm and inviting record that feels custom-made to appeal the true music appreciator. Myles’ warm production serves Bratt’s eclectic guitarwork well, with icons such as John Frusciante or John Mayer among the most prominent comparisons that can be made.
As Bratt himself explains, Slow Release is designed to be listened to as full record rather than a collection of singles. Considering it was preceded by five singles, it speaks to the mastery of his artistry that the record flows so well, with each track feeling as though it could’ve indeed been its own single.
With plans to head to the US in March to write, and with plans for a new album already on the way, the question remains: when you’ve started your career with a record that sounds like a collection of greatest hits, where do you go from here?
For Jack Bratt, half the fun will be finding out, but we can rest assured we’re in good hands as he forges ahead and blazes his own trail.
Jack Bratt’s Slow Release is out now, with physical copies available via Bandcamp.