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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Newton Faulkner at Oxford Art Factory

NEWTON FAULKNER
ERIN MARSHALL

26/08/09

Through a winning smile, Erin Marshall (pictured below) played a selection of acoustic pop songs from her upcoming EP, Things I Can’t Change. Sometimes breezy, sometimes pensive, but always accessible, Marshall’s tunes are the kind you’d hear on the radio and then find yourself humming for the next couple of days. A perfect example of this was Hard Case To Crack, an insanely infectious swing/jazz/pop number which had the crowd clapping along as she bounced around the stage with her acoustic guitar. Boasting oodles of charisma and a note-perfect and seemingly effortless vocal, big things could lie ahead for this singer/songwriter from Sydney.

Dreadlocked Englishman Newton Faulkner (pictured, top) really knows his way around a guitar. Within seconds of stepping on stage, his hands were flying all over the place in a blur of motion, his fingers crawling up the fret-board like spiders on speed. He drummed beats on the guitar’s body and played a specially adapted pedal-board organ with his shoeless feet. It was mesmerising.
 An affable character, he encouraged crowd participation at every possible juncture, played along to a cassette tape and busted out a mini-guitar for She’s Got The Time and the imaginatively titled follow-up She’s Got The Time 2. However, fun as all this was, his more serious songs were actually his best, like the rousing Dream Catch Me and his take on Massive Attack’s Teardrop. The highlight was his final offering: the stripped-down I’m Not Giving Up Yet from his imminent second album, Rebuilt By Humans. This song served to illustrate the only slightly frustrating aspect of the evening. Simply, for someone who can write a beautiful, meaningful ballad like this and who has such a great vocal, he spends a little bit too much time farting around with things like UFO (“better watch out for the anal probe”). While we might only be scratching the surface of his talent, with a few more songs like his set-closer, and less time spent getting the crowd to sing along as if they were pirates with rabies, Faulkner could really be one of the standout songwriters of his generation.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Newton Faulkner is out to entertain. OK maybe a few musos don't like the fun singalong stuff, but a lot of people do. As you say, he's capable of some breath-taking writing and will, given time become one of the stand-out songwriters of his generation. But don't forget he's only 24, so plenty of time yet. Meantime let's have the great songs and maybe a bit of fun too.

Anonymous said...

P.S. did you see him on Good News Week?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDUmw4ZCR7Y

Bobby Six said...

Do you know what I like about Newton fans? It's just how pasionate they are about him. My album review was one of the most commented on posts I've ever had.

Thanks for your comment anonymous, and I do mostly agree with your sentiment - I just think the balance weighs slighty too much in favour of the 'fun' stuff. Just slightly.

Before people get too sniffy about my post, I should say that I do like Newton as an artist and I really want to love him as one. My criticisms come more out of frustration that he isn't achieving his full potential than anything else.

Oh, and we have a mutual friend who tells me that he is a really really nice bloke. I suppose you can tell that though by his stage persona.

ps: thanks for the youtube link. I'll check it out when I get a minute.