I have long had a thing for slacker music. Pavement, Weezer. Bands whose best tunes seem to appear out of the haze of a hungover or stoned funk. Music that overflows and spills out of the speakers into the room like it would be more effort to turn it off than it was to create it in the first place. It is the dripping tap, the squeaky wheel. It feels effortless, yet intimate...
I am at my most emotionally transparent and open during the moments I emerge from a hangover. Missives of adulation applied to friends and loved ones in an insistent and rapid-fire fashion.
That is what Chet Faker is. These days on this blog I'm much more likely to be evangelising the latest indie R&B than anything you would find on a dancefloor... That is mainly because this music connects with me in a way not much else has in a while - lyrical depth combined with production chops. Chet Faker excels in both of these areas.
Chet Faker, real name Nicholas Murphy, is an Australian who applies a weird wonky folk sensibility to R&B. If Justin Vernon (best known in his Bon Iver guise) got in on the R&B game (not in itself unlikely), it might sound something like this.
Built On Glass is a lazy, funky, hungover in the morning kind of record. The meandering jazzy brass and stuttering rhythms of Lesson In Patience are seemingly thrown down as freestyle, despite the care and attention lavished on the overall (overtly-electronic) production here. There is a massive nod to the chaotic and off-kilter syncopated rhythms of D'Angelo's Voodoo throughout much of this record, and that is a glorious thing.
There are also brilliant songs and brilliant song-writing. Talk Is Cheap is sweet and endearing yet frank - the heart-felt words of a man three-beers down whose tongue is set free by the booze in his gut: "I wanna make you move with confidence, I want be with you alone" sings Murphy.
Track 1998 lays smooth electronic melodies in place amongst a bumping house beat to make an angsty post-breakup song short-skirted and sexy as much as it is heart-breaking. And Built On Glass peaks with the sparkling honesty and third-wall defying Cigarettes & Loneliness, a near-eight-minute folk-funk song about unrequited love. It's exactly the sort of genre-defying moment that highlights what a talent Faker is: blood pumping raw inside, funky on top.