I was introduced to Kevin Garrett's music two years ago to the date I am writing this piece. He opened up for the Canadian band Hey Rosetta! at The Ark in Ann Arbor and as you can see from my review of that show, I came away impressed. I always make a point to get to shows in plenty of time to catch the opening act and I've been rewarded with introductions to now favorite artists like James Vincent McMorrow, Grandaddy and the aforementioned Mr. Garrett to name just a few.
His EP Mellow Drama followed shortly after, and hearing the fleshed out studio versions of the songs he played solo on keyboard that night cemented my interest in anything he releases. Mellow Drama remains a perfect EP, five tracks of melancholic, soulful music. Since then, Garrett has released a couple of fantastic singles, co-wrote and produced "Pray You Catch Me", the opening track on Beyonce's Lemonade, and now has unveiled his second EP, the equally flawless False Hope, released to coincide with a tour of the same name I was lucky enough to catch in Pontiac and will review soon as well.
False Hope contains five more tracks of Garrett's brand of R&B music. There is a stronger element of electronic beats and effects in these songs compared to his first EP starting with the opener "A Heart Like Yours". A yearning ballad complete with stuttering beats, piano, foreboding synth swells and the customary impeccable vocal performance from Garrett, it's a stunner. "Stranglehold" was the first single released from the EP, a mid-tempo song about one of Garrett's favorite subjects, a relationship in trouble.
Understand one thing about Kevin Garrett, he has so far proven himself incapable of writing a bad song. "Pulling Me Under" is one of those tracks that should be all over radio, if commercial radio still mattered or had a pulse. An uptempo soul song, undeniably catchy, it has all the elements a "hit" is supposed to have. As great as it is, I think I like "Little Bit Of You" even better. This one is a laid back groove with a funky little guitar line that sinks into you and Garrett's smooth vocal delivery. Things come to a close with the second ballad on the EP, "The Way I Keep Myself Together".
Kevin Garrett proves on False Hope that he is equally at home with both uptempo material and the somber ballads he is best known for. He's one of those special artists I'll happily go out of my way to tell everyone I can to check out. If you're not familiar with his music yet, you need to rectify that. There is no way someone with this level of songwriting ability and vocal talent will be "underground" for long. Hopefully his first full length album follows in the near future.
Favorite tracks: "A Heart Like Yours", "Little Bit Of You", "Pulling Me Under"
False Hope was self-released February 3rd, 2017.