ALBUM REVIEW: Chet Faker ‘Built On Glass’

Chet Faker wasn’t a name that immediately rang any bells for me. However, upon listening to his latest album Built on Glass, it is obvious why he has become so popular, so quickly and I now can’t get enough of him.

Put Built On Glass on repeat and there will be something new to hear upon each listen. Each track is littered with simple layers of synth, keyboard, pulsating percussion and harmonies that are nicely unpredictable. It’s the kind of summer soundtrack that gives you an uncontrollable urge to sway your shoulders.

There is a distinctive Jazz and R’n’B vibe running throughout Faker’s debut LP, drawing well-founded James Blake comparisons. Both artists share similarities in their style; fragile, truthful storytelling that draws you in emotionally along with the use of processed beats. It is an individual take on a sound that is far from what is dominating the charts at present. Though Faker’s vocals are in no way technically perfect, they are sensual and loungy, complimenting the simple instrumental layers that accompany them.

The album begins with soft and glittering electric keys in Release Your Problems. The only prominent melody is in his wounded vocals, and that is all that is needed. It is a simplistic and intriguing opener that leaves you desperate to discover the genres that Faker will be tapping into.

We are then gradually introduced to echoing saxophone and sampled vocals in Talk Is Cheap. Though it is still mellow, more electronic elements are established. No Advice is a brief interlude just two verses long that again revolves around his vocals. It is short, but lyrically powerful and bolshie.

Gold is a genuine foot tapper. The finger clicking makes me feel like I’m in a smoke filled bar in the 1920’s. Great Gatsby eat your heart out. It’s from here on that the songs become more complex in a musical sense, mostly through the beats. There go my shoulders again!

Nearing the end of the album, the genre changes again in Dead Body, where electric acoustic guitar puts a clean twist on the song. Going from wet, muffled keys to open, airy guitar throws alternative elements to an album already full of surprises.  Kilo Kish makes a vocal appearance in Melt andboth Kish and Faker sing lazily amid a murmuring piano and repetitive high hat. From start to finish, this album mixes so many different genres with reminiscent samples of sound and style from the past.

In its entirety, Built On Glass is beautifully personal and is for me the spring soundtrack that stays fresh all year long.

Tash Moran

Tash Moran

Leicester based writer and photographer