CD: Newton Faulkner, Hand Built by Robots

(Ugly Truth)

There's something not exactly cinematic, exactly, but perhaps more televisual about Newton Faulkner's debut album. Its 17 songs - some full-length, some dinky vignettes - could happily form the soundtrack to a homely series following the ups and downs of a good-hearted young chap, someone who maybe moved to a big city recently, is struggling a bit with love, not doing quite as well at work as he might have hoped, and thinks the world might be better if only everyone realised "people should smile more". If that makes Hand Built by Robots sound potentially successful and thoroughly anodyne, well, it is. There's no denying Faulkner's talent: there's some exquisitely delicate guitar playing here, particularly in the opening moments of I Need Something, plus an impressive display of the instrument's percussive capabilities, and if Pearl Jam were ever looking for a new singer Faulkner could replace Eddie Vedder, no problem. But this is very much the work of amiable 22-year-old from Surrey: laid-back, insipid, lacking the bite to make it exciting.


Maddy Costa

The GuardianTramp

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