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Built on Glass
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  • Seeing as how his come-up number was a trip-hop cover of "No Diggity" and his name is a Kurt Vile-like play on jazz great Chet Baker, Australian electronica producer Nick Murphy aka Chet Faker arrives with two overly clever strikes against him, at least on the surface. Tricky thing is, those who dig into that Blackstreet cover finds themselves enveloped in a warm, soulful slinker of the highest order, but the even better news is that Built on Glass is a rich debut, falling between the two hypotheticals of a James Blake record inspired by joy or a Beck album that should be filed under the category of "earnest." The lyrics offer a lazy fascination with subjects like love, loss, and afternoons off, while swaying tempos support sounds like bubbling house music, jazzy, Joe Pass-like guitar passages, and Faker's warm vocals, which are as if Eddie Vedder were born a slow soul man. The great "Talk Is Cheap" is broken beat house with a wonderful Boz Scaggs feel, while "Cigarettes & Loneliness" is a compositional triumph with interwoven guitars and Faker's lovelorn singing holding the listener's hand as a whirling dervish develops on a rainy Sunday. The volume is only pumped up to a Derrick May or Carl Craig level as highlight "1998" bubbles with that Detroit techno feel, and yet sticking with subdued suits the artist at this point. Built on Glass isn't so much limited as it is a wonderful mood piece, so think calm and cool with purpose, and then get hip to the restrained and resonating sound of Faker. ~ David Jeffries
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