Release Date: 30/07/2007
Newton Faulkner has toured with Paulo Nutini and James Morrison. You hear this fact far more often than you have to–-it might have made sense to expose his palatable acoustic tinkerings to those massive audiences, but that association leaves too simplistic an impression. He specialises in partially progressive, free-willed folk-pop that is on one hand too cosy and warm for mass consumption–-there’s only so much space around the beach campfire–-but on the other it’s so accessible, so infectious, so feel-good that how could it not be headed for every other car stereo in the country, windows rolled down (weather permitting). It’s not cutting edge by any stretch of the imagination; he constantly reminds of the acoustic balladry of 90s soft-metal bands Extreme and Mr Big (or at least the songs "More than Words" and "To Be with You") via modern day peers like Ben Harper, but Newton Faulkner comes with a fertile imagination and an enjoyably flexible range to dress that foundation up. His gravelly cover of Massive Attack’s "Teardrop" is notable and Jack Johnson’s a good reference for the percussive plucking of tunes like "Gone in the Morning", "To the Light" and "Feels Like Home". There are very few 17-track albums that couldn’t be improved by losing six tracks, but the consistency on Hand Built by Robots is admirable and hints at a long term talent.