Lar­rikin from Corn­wall proves well worth the wait

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music -

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL pop- watch­ers will be amazed that it has taken so long for this CD to ap­pear here: it was re­leased in Bri­tain last July ( and went to No. 1 in Au­gust). The rest of us may well be left won­der­ing, ‘‘ Who the hell is New­ton Faulkner?’’ How­ever, I ex­pect once ra­dio gets hold of the first lo­cal sin­gle, the mag­nif­i­cent Dream Catch Me, that ques­tion will quickly be­come re­dun­dant. Here is a 22- year- old from Sur­rey, Eng­land, with di­a­bol­i­cal dreads and a charm­ing, lar­rikin stage pres­ence. A prod­uct of the English surf scene, small as it is, and based in Corn­wall, he seems to have emerged out of that com­mu­nity’s need for a Jack John­son of its own. Hap­pily, Faulkner is much more than a John­son clone. His is a voice with throat, an in­stru­ment at once as mas­cu­line as, say, Ed­die Ved­der’s, yet with a del­i­cate gear, as re­quired. Lyrics are of­ten self­ef­fac­ing: ‘‘ I feel like a mup­pet with a drunken pup­peteer,’’ he sings in the rootsy To the Light. While the lyrics are sim­ple yet fresh, it’s the mu­sic that will sell the Faulkner ex­press to the masses. Some of the tracks fea­ture only Faulkner, who, like Tommy Emmanuel, can turn a gui­tar into an en­tire band. He loves to pump out a beat on the body of the gui­tar, while he man­ages a bass pat­tern, stan­dard fin­ger- pick­ing and tap­ping the strings to get a sec­ond or third melody go­ing. His cover of Mas­sive At­tack’s Teardrop demon­strates this best, be­fore it is hi­jacked by pro­duc­tion. But the real sig­nal of Faulkner’s po­ten­tial is the four- minute ge­nius of Dream Catch Me, with its killer hooks, its un­ex­pected Billy Thorpe- like yelp, ‘‘ That’s where I’m go­ing, where are you go­ing?’’, and its joy­ful op­ti­mism: ‘‘ See you as a moun­tain, a foun­tain, a god/ See you as a des­cant soul in the set­ting sun.’’

Ian Cuth­bert­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.