Release Date: Apr 15, 2014
Record label: Downtown
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
Within the 12 tracks that make up his full-length debut, Chet Faker is the crooner (“Release Your Problems”), the DJ (“Cigarettes & Loneliness”), the innovator (“No Advice [Airport Version]”) and the best boyfriend you could possibly have (“Talk Is Cheap”). While the different factors might seem like Built on Glass is a broken pile of jagged shards, the album’s enthralling fusion of electronica and soul proves that Faker’s glass foundation is a prism showing his colorful range. .
Seeing as how his come-up number was a trip-hop cover of "No Diggity" and his name is a Kurt Vile-like play on jazz great Chet Baker, Australian electronica producer Nick Murphy aka Chet Faker arrives with two overly clever strikes against him, at least on the surface. Tricky thing is, those who dig into that Blackstreet cover finds themselves enveloped in a warm, soulful slinker of the highest order, but the even better news is that Built on Glass is a rich debut, falling between the two hypotheticals of a James Blake record inspired by joy or a Beck album that should be filed under the category of "earnest. " The lyrics offer a lazy fascination with subjects like love, loss, and afternoons off, while swaying tempos support sounds like bubbling house music, jazzy, Joe Pass-like guitar passages, and Faker's warm vocals, which are as if Eddie Vedder were born a slow soul man.
Chet Faker is billed as an electronic musician, but if last year's cover of No Diggity didn't tip you off, his debut album proves the Melbournite's got serious soul. The downtempo production is mellow and broody - often like a more clear-headed Noah "40" Shebib. But that's warmed up with yearning vocals and R&B sensibilities. There's a song called 1998, but references to that decade are rooted a lot earlier in the 90s (more Dance Mix than Much Dance), and once in a while - especially on standout single Talk Is Cheap - there's a Mr.
Despite his moniker, Nicholas Murphy shares very little in common with Chet Baker. However, his music as Chet Faker does show a considerable amount of appreciation for jazz, and in particular fragile vocals. This debut album is very much the culmination of Faker’s disparate influences, showcasing his broken, downtempo soul at its finest.‘Built on Glass’ sounds almost as brittle as it title would imply.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. It was the year 2011 when Chet Faker stepped out of his bedroom and into the spotlight - visible to the eyes and ears of millions of listeners across the globe. An internet sensation had been born from the attention received by sending an MP3 file of 'No Diggity' to a blogger. Within hours, the track was dispersed all over the world reaching the number one spot on Hype Machine.
Given Chet Faker's profile in his homeland over the past few years, it's easy to forget the Melbourne producer had only put out a single solo EP before Built on Glass. Since his cover of "No Diggity" and 2012's Thinking In Textures, Faker has been the Australian poster boy for the nebulous intersection of R&B and soul-influenced electronic music. Either somewhere between James Blake and Tom Krell or a leader of the ignominious "Australian sound" depending on who you ask, Faker's standard-bearing might seem a little premature.
He has the worst name in music, he came to fame via a cover of ‘No Diggity’, and he sounds like Phil Collins gone James Blake: already, Australia’s Chet Faker has a pretty big hole to dig himself out of on his debut. Singing no faster than 2mph doesn’t help either, but there’s an unexpected range in his schtick that’s disarming. It takes him from Bombay Bicycle Club in their Fela Kuti worshipping phase (‘Cigarettes & Loneliness’), to ‘Gold’’s Alt-J levels of poppy R&B deconstruction, up to something that resembles Willis Earl Beal helping out on Brian Eno’s ‘Music For’ records (‘No Advice’).
Getting noticed isn’t hard nowadays. In fact, if you’ve been sat at your computer for over 15 minutes and haven’t become an internet sensation already, then you’re probably doing it wrong. Anyone could pick up an instrument, put a donk on it and be pipped as the next big musical “thing”. What is difficult, however, is making that hype last.
Chet Faker’s debut album, Built On Glass, starts with some lounge-level organ, lightly touched, as if it’s preparing for Michael McDonald to walk in, but the sound is quickly usurped by an electronic rush and Faker’s voice, which carefully skirts cheesiness and real soul. “Release Your Problems” is probably the wrong way to introduce Built On Glass, because it’s the closest that the album comes to that line, with the Australian stretching his believability close to a tipping point. Most people will probably have begun elsewhere anyway, either with Faker’s cover of “No Diggity” (which soundtracked a beer commercial last year but isn’t on the album) or the currently buzzing single “Talk Is Cheap,” which better blends his passion for soulful singing and digestible, occasionally daring electronics.