Newton Faulkner - 'The Very Best Of Newton Faulkner...So Far' Album Review

February 26, 2019

Tracklist:

1. Write It On Your Skin

2. Clouds

3. Finger Tips

4. Don't Leave Me Waiting

5. Brick By Brick

6. I Need Something

7. Wish I Could Wake Up

8. Passing Planes

9. Against The grain

10. Take What You want

11.Never alone

12. Teardrop

13. Indecisive

14. If This Is It

15. Dream Catch Me

16. I Took It Out On You

17. Shadow Boxing

18. Up Up And Away

19. Million Reasons

20. Send Me On My Way

21. IDGAF

22. May You Never

23. I'll Be There

24. City Of Stars

25. No Diggity

26. Pure Imagination

27. You Spin Me

28. Payphone

29. Foundations

30. Sponge Bob Square Pants

31. Bo Rap

 

Newton Faulkner was a bit of a shock to the system when his first album "Built By Robots" was released twelve years ago. Here were Pop songs presented by someone with a knowledge of their their craft as well as a genuine talent for their instrument. Newton brought with him a style of percussive guitar playing that's more associated with Flamenco and Folk music. In fact, I remember seeing him touring his first album where on one song he would use his hand and fingers to tap and beat a rhythm on his acoustic guitar whilst still playing the guitar AND altering the tuning of different strings by turning the tuning pegs whilst still playing.

 

Fast forward to 2019 and he's got quite a bit to be thankful for. As well as touring and recording six albums, Faulkner has also appeared in the UK stage version of Green Day's "American Idiot" and also Jeff Wayne's "War Of The Worlds". He’s never quite been able to recapture those moments from the debut which is a shame as he has some great material under his belt, something that this best of album will remind you of.

 

“The Very Best Of Newton Faulkner...So Far” is a great overview of his career, thirty one songs that show all facets of his music. Split over two discs, you are spoilt for choice for songs. The first disc is comprised his more familiar material, including three new songs whilst disc two is filled with a broad selection of covers he’s played live in his shows over the years, some of which will surprise a first time listener.

 

Opening with 'Write It On Your Skin' is a great move. The song is the title track of his third album and is probably the best example of his style, technique and talent. With it’s upbeat picked guitar and  gentle vocal, it’s uplifting and incredibly infectious. 'Clouds' and 'Finger Tips' show growth form the original blueprint of his sound, the latter possessing a more soul influence. Crowd favourites like 'Brick By Brick', 'I Need Something', 'If This Is It' and 'Dream Catch Me' all appear here, making you realise how many of songs you know and have heard over the years. This is definitely evident when you hear 'Teardrop', his take on the song by trip hop lehendd Massive Attack. Not only does it show that his taste extends far beyond most “singer/songwriter” types, but it also shows his talent. Here he takes what was essentially a song that lives more in a Dance genre but makes it feel so organic and natural (especially with the taps from the heel of his hand and his fingers against the body of his guitar that helps recreate the songs heartbeat and rhythm). The new songs 'Don’t Leave Me Waiting', 'Wish I Could Wake Up' and 'Never Alone' could have fitted in across his career at any point without sticking out too much.

 

The choice of covers show someone with a wide musical palette, as well as a sense of humour. Modern pop music is well represented by songs from Lady Gaga ('Million Reasons’), Dua Lipa ('IDGAF'), Jess Glynne ('I'll Be There'), Maroon 5 (“Payphone') and Kate Nash ('Foundation'), all with Newton’s take on their arrangements, proving good songs are good songs, no matter the genre. 'Send Me On My Way' from TV show “Party of Five” catches you by surprise, as does 'City Of Stars' from “La La Land” and 'Pure Imagination' from “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. 'Pure Diggity' raises a chuckle before you find yourself nodding along with it. To finish it off you have 'You Spin Me Right Round' (Dead Or Alive), the theme to Spongebob Squrepants and his solo take on the Queen classic ‘Boheminan Rhapsody’ were a part of set his set when touring his debut album and his version of 'May You Never' by John Martyn shows his more serious folk roots. All of these are tackled by Newton on his own and shows the talent he has at performing. His guitar technique is soon good and would be overshadowed if it wasn’t for the fact that his voice can easily keep up with what he’s trying to do. There is great range there as well as control, something that you don’t really pick up when you are being blown away by his guitar skills.

 

“The Very Best Of Newton Faulkner...So Far” is a great addition to his catalogue. Not only does it serve as an introduction to the artist himself, but it is also a reminder that you can be a musician and still exist within Pop culture without having to play down your talent or musical skills. It serves as a great eye opener as well as providing you with an uplifting tuneful soundtrack for the coming months.

Website - newtonfaulkner.com

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/newtonfaulkner/

 

Review - Scott Hamilton

 

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