Australian electronic musician Nicholas James Murphy aka Chet Faker is to release his first album Built on Glass, which follows the award winning EP Thinking in Textures released in 2012. The recording name came after he kept getting confused with another artist of the same name, and is an homage to jazz musician Chet Baker.
The twelve track LP begins with “Release Your Problems” which starts slowly, keys come in and eventually some vocals and chilled out melodies, both very stripped back. Murphy’s vocals are soulful as he invites listeners to “release your problems”. “Talk Is Cheap” introduces atmospheric saxophone and more rhythmic beats and claps, still very chilled and with a level headed feel. “Talk is cheap my darling, when you’re feeling right at home, I wanna make you walk with confidence, I wanna be with you alone” he sings out.
“No Advice (Airport Version)” may be called so, because the echo running throughout the track speaks of the emptiness of airports. Above this the harmonic vocals act as a transition into the next track “Melt (feat. Kilo Kish)” which picks up the pace. Keys and the steady smooth delivery from Kilo Kish maintain Built on Glass’s relaxed feel. “Gold” sees hand claps setting the rhythm whilst Murphy’s lyrics shine; “You gotta know, I’m feeling low”.
However you pronounce the next interlude of a track entitled “/” which is simply static and record clicks with a voice saying “this is the other side of the record…now relax some more, drift a little deeper, as you listen” very fitting. “Blush” is more heavily instrumental and the vocals at the beginning are treated with a sound effect giving them a computerized feel.
“1998” brings in a more funky, dance-able baseline whilst “Cigarettes & Loneliness” uses a ringing sound effect to open, and creates an interesting textural soundscape reminiscent of something from Thinking In Textures. “Lesson In Patience” speaks of the patience Murphy seems to have in his music making, and is entirely instrumental (including humming). Closing track “Dead Body” sees out Chet Faker’s new album, full of soul, and includes electric guitar solos and backing harmonies.
Built on Glass is a chilled out, somber record in which Murphy continues to exercise restraint in song writing, focusing on soulful vocals, simple production and interesting textures.
Reviewed by Heather Welsh.