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Album Review: Chet Faker – Built On Glass

3 min read

Aussie electronica/soul artist Chet Faker (aka Nicholas Murphy) has been making waves over the last couple of years, in 2012 alone he was signed to US label Downtown Records and won two ARIA awards among others thanks to his critically acclaimed debut EP Talking In Textures. He also collaborated with Australian electronic music producer Flume, another ARIA award winner, together they created the Lockjaw EP which again was an acclaimed work. Now Chet Faker is back with his debut album, Built On Glass. 

Chet Faker Built on GlassThe purpose of electronica music is to set an atmosphere, whether that is to simply liven up the background of a party or even to make a suitable soundtrack for a TV advertisement or video game; this seems to be the case with Built On Glass. You are definitely taken into the opening track Release Your Problems, it is a minimalist track as there is not a lot of sound going on throughout the track which allows you to be drawn to Chet’s raw and soulful vocals. In contrast, leading single Talk Is Cheap has a lot more going on instrumentally and vocally, which is almost as distracting as it is intriguing. No Advice was too short and a lot more could have been done with the track, whereas Melt (feat. Kilo Kish) was another one of those captivating tracks showing the diversity Chet has in his voice and accompanied by the breathy voiced Kilo, which was a refreshing addition to the song.

Gold embraces Chet’s more soulful side to vocal delivery, with the gruff falsetto intro and harmonies, followed by his familiar vocal which makes an easeful listen. To Me would almost pass for a down key pop track, which would make an ideal second single choice for the album as it is a nice track to listen and bop along to; in contrast, Blush is more of a strange track which sounds like it would be licensed to Foxtel for use in its menu. 1998 isn’t an easy track to get into, it’s just there playing really, and Cigarettes & Loneliness didn’t have too much substance either. Lesson in Patience begins with a chorus of Chet Fakers, the lesson being taught was to wait patiently for the song to pick up and go somewhere; this may have been the purpose of the track, it ended up being a little bit of a drag. Last, but not different in the least, closing track Dead Body is reminiscent of what we have heard throughout the album; hard feelings, a minimalist vibe and soulful vocals.

Built On Glass has been a highly anticipated release, as mentioned Chet Faker has been in the public eye since his first success with Talking In Textures. The album does tick many boxes in terms of mastering the electronica sound and creating an atmosphere worthy of playing in the background; elevator music, Foxtel menu, parties etc. A vibe of repetitiveness could not have been help to have been felt in the end, the album just didn’t seem to be daring enough to venture across many other fields of electronica and soul. Overall Built On Glass was a smooth listen and a good piece for its genre, but it didn’t really seem to live up to the hype surrounding it.