August 2, 2014
Ithaca, NY 61°F | Clouds

Accent

Review: Soulful singer bridges genres

"Built on Glass"

Chet Faker

With a husky voice and inquisitive lyrics, Chet Faker’s debut album, “Built On Glass,” presents unexpected electronic beats in order to construct a sophisticated electro-soul album. This Melbourne, Australia, native seduces his listeners with a combination of smoldering vocals and soft rhythm-and-blues beats within his electronic tracks.

While most tracks on the album make use of his synth and other electronic musical effects, Faker refuses to fall into any specific genre by diversifying his album with jazz, soul and R&B sounds. As he matches the sounds of his synthesizer with classic blues melodies, Faker introduces himself as a modern electronic jazz hybrid musician, creating a relaxing vibration within each song on the album as he merges several genres.

He opens with “Release Your Problems,” a slower song that showcases his gravelly vocals over simple, blues-inspired instrumentals. The longer opening leads into an anticipated tune, offering a noir-like sentiment throughout the jazz-inspired song.

The next track, “Talk Is Cheap,” slightly boosts the tempo and adds the raspy sound of a saxophone, a harmonious duo paired with his voice as he sings, “I hold up my ways/ These thoughts are pervasive/ It’s not a statement/ But peace can be evasive.”

A brief 20 seconds of the static sound of a vinyl record makes up the track titled, “/,” breaking the entire album in half as a deep voice speaks, “That was the other side of the record. Now relax still more, drift a little deeper as you listen.” As the recording fades out, the album takes on a more vintage feel. Encouraging the listeners to listen to the album as a whole rather than song by song, “Built On Glass” takes on the role of a vinyl record or cassette tape. “/” not only intrigues the listeners to continue listening, but the mysterious voice anticipates something different coming on the album.

Following this switch, Faker exhibits his more experimental songs. He uses voice effects in “Blush” to blend his voice into the instruments. The evocative lyric-less humming in the broken-beat track “Lesson in Patience” offers an ethereal mood as the album wraps up, maintaining the hoarse harmony of a melancholy saxophone playing in the background.

As a whole, “Built On Glass” flows smoothly despite being broken up by different-sounding tracks. Faker uses his sensual vocals and jazzy beats, consistently generating a tranquil venture into music for his listeners.