Despite the relative rapidity of Chet Faker’s growth in stature since dropping that ‘No Diggity’ cover back in 2011, the Melbournian has continued to develop on his own terms. Following recent collaborations with Flume, this debut is just the second release of Faker’s solo career following 2012’s ‘Thinking in Textures’ EP.
Faker’s love for jazz is clear from the offset, and the infectious bass line grooves that underpin the opener ‘Release Your Problems’ makes for a warm and impressionable start. This is continued into the record’s first single, ‘Talk Is Cheap’, with the use of a saxophone over minimalist percussion showing that Faker is not boxed by his status in the Australian electronic scene. The versatility of the layered vocals here is just another reason why this is already one of the tracks of the year.
Opening with an introduction of bass and handclaps, and building in to a textured composition of spacey synths and muted distorted guitars, ‘Gold’ proves arguably one of the most impressive and intricate of the previously unheard tracks. Elsewhere, the delve into house – something that Faker admits is a nod to some of his favourite music – is an undoubted success. ‘1998‘ is near dance floor-worthy material, but it’s not entirely clear how it relates to the remainder of the album.
It’s clear that Faker, real name Nicholas Murphy, has grappled with a number of influences as he shapes and hones his musical style. In a recent Sydney Boiler Room session he joked that he wished he played techno, and ironically this is one of the few influences that doesn’t shine through on ‘Built On Glass’. However, what is consistent throughout is the blunt honesty of the lyrics, portrayed masterfully through a soulful vocal performance. Whilst this album may take numerous forms musically, it is without doubt the lyrics and delivery that provide a sense of cohesion throughout.
‘Built On Glass’ perhaps poses more questions than it answers about Chet Faker, but it certainly displays the potential of an artist who could succeed regardless of which musical avenues he chooses to embellish further down the line.