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Newton Faulkner - Hand Built By Robots

Newton Faulkner, Hand Built By Robots

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

NEWTON Faulkner is fast becoming a cult favourite among the Cornwall surfing fraternity. And his summery acoustic hooks boast a freshness and easy accessibility that have won countless MySpace fans.

Debut album Hand Built By Robots is excellent proof of why. Capable of appealing to fans of Jack Johnson, Snow Patrol and Barenaked Ladies, it’s packed with pleasing harmonies and a shimmering sensibility reserved for all the best summer/surf albums.

Faulkner may be a native of Surrey but his music is just as comfortable on the beaches of Australia and the surf shops of California as it is on the rain-lashed English coast. And that’s no mean achievement.

Evidence of his easy appeal is rife throughout recent single Dream Catch Me, a quietly mesmerising track that begins with the moody (albeit acoustic) rock of Snow Patrol before blossoming into a mighty falsetto based chorus. It’s the sort of track that effortlessly captures your attention from the first time you hear it and keeps getting better with each play.

But it’s one of many gems on this excellent album. Fans of artists on the Jack Johnson album (such as ALO) will probably dig the quickly delivered lyrics and intricate acoustic guitar licks of To The Light, which even bears comparison with Bare Naked Ladies.

While there’s a supremely laidback beach-side fireplace kind of vibe attached to the shimmering acoustic number All I Got, which could easily become a radio-friendly summer anthem with its upbeat chorus of “everywhere I look everything is looking so good, and everyone is you”.

Feels Like Home is another tightly woven acoustic number that boasts some striking riffs and a nicely husky vocal delivery, while the intriguing Sitar-y Thing does – like its name suggests – drop some fine sitar-y chords to further demonstrate Faulkner’s musical ability (it’s just a shame it lasts only a minute).

Even more striking is his stripped down, haunted cover version of Massive Attack’s Teardrop – a song that admittedly takes some getting used to but which, once grasped, adds an extra dimension to the song that’s equally beguiling.

The inclusion of some melancholy piano chords lends a contemplative vibe to Straight Towards The Sun, the pick of some of the slower songs, while the Jack Johnson comparisons utterly bear fruit on the self consciously optimistic People Should Smile More – a song that deserves to be played loud in every city place to ensure people take the time to be a little more happy.

If there’s a minor criticism surrounding the album it’s that it could do with ending on a higher note than the tender Lullaby – but it’s a minor quibble on an otherwise excellent listen that’s sure to brighten the lives of whoever buys it.

Download picks: To The Light, All I Got, Dream Catch Me, Feels Like Home, People Should Smile More, Gone In The Morning

Track listing:

  1. Intro
  2. To The Light
  3. I Need Something
  4. All I Got
  5. Dream Catch Me
  6. Feels Like Home
  7. Teardrop
  8. Gone In The Morning
  9. Sitar-y Thing
  10. Uncomfortably Slow
  11. Straight Towards The Sun
  12. People Should Smile More
  13. She’s Got The Time
  14. UFO
  15. Face (Her)
  16. Aging Superhero
  17. Lullaby

  1. Quality album, can't wait for more to come.

    DAVE    Aug 10    #