The Best Albums of 2014: #12 Chet Faker – Built On Glass

Pardon the delay on this entry, but I’ve been a real weekend warrior. At any rate, here’s the #12 entry and make sure to follow Everything Ecstatic on Twitter first:


When Built On Glass came out in mid-April, I didn’t want to listen to anything else. It motivated me. It lifted me up. It was the kind of soulful synth-R&B I had been yearning for. I was introduced to Chet Faker through KCRW’s excellent Morning Becomes Eclectic radio show (hosted by the incomparable Jason Bentley, this is my go to weekday morning listen) and was intrigued by the Aussie from the start.

Chet Faker (real name Nicholas James Murphy, but we’ll keep calling him Chet Faker) infuses jazzy vocals in his tunes like no other. He sports a trademark bushy beard and his lyrics are super emotional; exactly what you’d want out of a jazz singer; he looks and sings the part. He twinkles the keys and let’s it all hang out. My sister (who lives in Brazil) sent me this video of a live performance of “Talk Is Cheap” and I love it not just for the song and the performance, but also how Faker’s sound is resonating in Brazil:

His hooks are poppy and that likely lends to his global appeal, but it’s the production that distinguishes him from other sultry-voiced male singers. Take the horn-samples on “Talk is Cheap” and “Lesson in Patience,” or the kraut-synth of “1998.” He finds a way to balance different sonic elements and yield a sound that’s nothing short of infectious. He’s at his velvety-iest on “Cigarettes & Loneliness,” which layers a simple guitar riff over a punchy bass line. Faker coos to a woman who’s left him tongue-tied and weak in the knees: “Love what you’ve done to my tongue?/I open my mouth, but you hear me wrong.”

Built on Glass is a series of laments. We feel Faker’s emotions, because he presents them so passionately. Where he’s had success in the electronic realm in working with fellow Aussie Flume in the past, he embarks on a solo tour de force on this album that cements his presence in the synth-R&B scene. He wears his heart on his sleeve and that resonates with me big time. Waxing on the ups and downs of love, you can just feel how much pain he’s letting go of through these songs. His authenticity is exactly that and this is a go-to album for a range of emotional fluctuations. Make your heartbreak easier to stomach by listening to Chet Faker rationalize it for you on Built on Glass, our #12 Album of 2014. Cheers.

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