Tyler Garrett embraces a fiery passion on the urgency of “Undertow”. A neon-hued piece of splendor the way the bass rumbles and the melody echoes into the infinite gives it an otherworldly hue. Stylistically his work lies between a polished perfected form of R&B and pop with a sleazy industrial edge for added emphasis. His vocals have a tremendous crystal clarity with each verse delivered with tremendous intensity. Razor sharp focus further emphasizes the power of his words while they touch upon a sense of yearning, as a sense of desire informs his clever poetic lyricism. With a hope for something calming, a gentle relationship, the pieces explore the complicated way that love can change a person.
References abound over the course of the collection. Lady Gaga’s undeniably sultry performance certainly plays an important role in his phenomenal delivery, completely grabbing the listener. Beyond this the silky-smooth basslines and incorporation of trap recalls the experimental R&B musings of James Blake. Like his work, Tyler Garrett’s production has a starkness to it. Every single keyboard pulse further heightens the sense of tension. With his heaviest productions he even conjures up Trent Reznor’s smoky, audiophile industrial presence as the nasty distortion becomes all-encompassing in a heady, physical mix.
On the opener and title track “Undertow” nothing is held back. The insistent groove keeps on growing and growing. Layer upon layer is further added to transform the sound into a force of nature until at the very end he pulls away, with only his seductive voice remaining for a few moments before it too fades away. The sense of unease continues as “Pulse” goes for a gargantuan presence featuring nimble percussion. Unfolding in a geometric way, the twisted drum n’ bass rhythms in the background further highlight the need that rests in the heart of it all. Lyrics cascade with “Wish Upon” as the sound goes for the jugular, perfectly punctuating the power of his words.
The duality of “Tell Me” plays with the concept of loud and quiet. Clipped drums and handclaps give it a communal presence. Further adding to the expansiveness, the melody wafts into the air lends the work pathos. By far the highlight comes from the infectious groove of “All Hope Is Lost”. Synthesizer stabs intermingle to weave a vast tapestry one that incorporates a tremendous amount of color. Within this singular work the track’s tone gradually morphs to bring a bit of light and hope into the mix. How it unfolds makes it akin to sonic origami, with each delicate texture hovering, waiting for relief. Flowing from the finale “Relief” elaborates on this sense of optimism, as it closes out the collection.
“Undertow” shows off the undeniably powerful dramatic flair of Tyler Garrett proving him to be an incredible storyteller whose narratives linger in the mind.