Drawing from the music of his youth, Andrew Van Garratt’s first full-length album Work Of Fiction pulls together four decades of big time influences. From the Beatles, The Kinks and Bowie to Nirvana, Blur and Weezer, this 12-song ride covers several musical styles. Lyrically, the songs cover topics such as love and mindfulness, to paranoia, selfie culture and nostalgia. Van Garratt has had a history with Atlantic Records, airplay on MTV and Radio 1 and playing at the V Festival with his old band No Hope In New Jersey. But when the band split up this started an apprenticeship, which led him playing various styles of music in bands all over the world.
A move to England in 2015 for his sister’s wedding lead him to stay and work on his own solo material, which then turned over an EP and eventually Work of Fiction. Van Garratt had help from Dave Dhonau on bass and Karl Thompson on drums. More information about the album can be found on his Bandcamp site. The opener “Nothing Here Is Real, Real” has that ‘90s indie rock feel, with heavy guitar riffs and intellectual sensibilities – a great icebreaker with a lot of appeal. “Get Away” carries on that ‘90s feel pulling styles reminiscent of Blur, Nirvana and Weezer.
“I Wish” is based on a decision about a girl Van Garratt met at a pub, but that decision was ill fated and the two never had the all-important first date. Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” was the inspiration behind the opening guitar riff, but it was later modified. I liked this one a lot for the catchy guitar riffs and pop-rock ‘70s glam to the lyrics. “Clown Inside The Shop” finds Van Garratt’s songwriting at a more serious and conscientious level. “Sally Anne” is a great bubble gum pop venture that solidified bands like The Kinks into rock n’ roll history. Van Garratt does a nice job on the solo with his brand of pop-rock sounds perfectly timed into a three-minute tune.
“At The End” tones the album’s momentum down a little with the acoustic and a slower, folkish pop feel. Peace minded words like “So we need to find a better frame of mind / somewhere calm that can treat you kind” invokes the songwriting direction reminiscent of Neil Young or Beatles’ folksier stuff. “Miss Understand” continues Van Garratt’s folk-rock style, a la the ‘60s, which turns out to be one of the shortest songs on the album. “Pass Away” covers a good range of styles – doo-wap singing of the ‘60s with keys and guitar riff influence from Weezer.
“Red Carpet Day” picks ups with a faster tempo and speaks to our society’s fascination with selfie photos, where everyone is a “celebrity” or thinks they can be. It’s a fantastic statement about where we are now as a culture – “in the age of the me.” “Doctor Sane” grooves hard and loud and it’s another short and tidy song. Lyrically, Van Garratt seems to be saying in his writing, “I’m ok Doc, just leave me alone, I want to stay in bed all day – so, piss off then will ya?” If that song wasn’t heavy and fast enough for you, then I’m pretty sure “Stay Like The Rain” will do nicely. I mean — my god, I wasn’t expecting this one at all –- it’s sheer explosive energy and I frickin’ loved every minute of it!
The last number is an ode to the man himself – David Bowie. On “Modern World (Song For Bowie)” piano, acoustic and power chord guitars riffs all join in sounding like something from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. The lyrics are rather subjective but I sense that Van Garratt was trying to say something about our modern world and how disappointing it has become to our modern minds. Despite its solemn message, it has a lovely melody, which made me want to pull my Bowie collection pronto.
Work Of Fiction does indeed pull influence from many musical styles and bands, but even so, if you’re not too familiar with any of the aforementioned, Van Garratt’s work should please the choosiest of listeners. I for one hope to hear more from him soon.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook