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Newton Faulkner - 'Interference (Of Light)' Album Review


1. Sinking Sand

2. Cage

3. Back From The Dead

4. Riding High

5. Four Leaf Clover

6. Killing Time

7. Here Tonight

8. Better Way

9. World Away

10. I Can Pretend

11. Leave Me Lonely

12. Together

13. The Sun Is Coming Up

14. Rest Of Me

15. Ache For You

16. It’s Getting Late

17. Interference (F@&k I Think It’s Love)

It’s boggling to believe that Newton Faulkner is approaching fifteen years since the release of his debut album “Hand Built By Robots” in 2007. Back then his take on Acoustic Pop songs flavoured with flamenco style guitar percussion caught the public unawares. Live, he could back his skills up in a manner that seemed effortless while charming the audience with his humour. Believe me, I’ve seen him and I’ve stood there wondering what strange satanic ritual he’d performed to be able to perform in such a way.

2021 sees a changed world for us all and it’s reflected in his seventh studio album (excluding his best of from two years ago). “Interference (Of Light)” has been recorded for a while now and it seems the perfect time for a musician like himself to release some new music. Anyone that’s expecting Newton’s lockdown diaries though will be disappointed; these songs seem to bristle with hope at what we can achieve in dawn’s new light of day. His trademark acoustic sound has been metamorphosing for a while now, with each album growing from the preceding one while keeping his musical DNA intact. Yes, guitars are present here as they are his predominant instrument, but they’re often mixed into the body of the song itself. There’s even electric guitars in places that catch your attention. On ‘Four Leaf Clover’ and ‘Together’ he conjures up a Texan blues groove that doesn’t sound out of place in the slightest. He’s not gone all Iron Maiden and I’m not expecting calls of “Judas” at his gigs like Dylan had back in ‘66, but it shows that he’s happy to keep evolving his style.

Another thing that has changed is his vocals. We’re not talking adding loads of effects to them or putting everything through auto tune. There’s more confidence to them and the sound of a musician who’s pushing himself outside of his comfort zone too. ‘Back From The Dead’ shows a near falsetto in places that aren’t expected while managing to feel natural.

Rhythm takes a centre stage at times too with psychedelic stomps such as opening track ‘Sinking Sand’ and the spicy Latino samba of ‘Riding High’. Rather than sitting back and munching on crisps while the session drummer played, Newton has grabbed his son’s drum kit and played the songs himself. With this as a basis, the songs are sprinkled with electronic percussion and beats.

His acoustic still comes out, but this time you appreciate what it brings to the song. ‘Here Tonight’ is stripped back to voice and guitar and it works better for it in context of the album. If this was released on a previous album it possibly would have become lost but here it’s given chance to breathe and reach out to you

Standout tracks ‘Leave Me Lonely’, ‘Rest Of Me’, ‘It’s Getting Late’ and ‘Interference (F@&k I Think It’s Love)’ take elements sewn across the entire album and work them in a way that to add to the song’s strengths. Each one seems to step forward in a way that catches your attention without diminishing the others that come before and after.

“Interference (Of Light)” clocks in with seventeen songs (Newton has said that the vinyl version will omit some of the tracks so it will be interesting to see what’s included and what isn’t) but it never drags. Each song is comfortably under the five minute mark so your attention isn’t given time to wander in this post-playlist world where listeners are prone to skip. In fact, some of the songs feel as though they go past in an instant, like a visit from an old friend. It’s comforting without feeling overly familiar, but fresh enough so Newton isn’t treading water. It grows in ways that a good album should. It may not be a perfect album but it’s a damn fine one to remind us that sometimes we need to focus on what’s around us now rather than the miserable memories of the last eighteen months and, for that, I’m really thankful for it.

Review - Scott Hamilton


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