Album Review: Newton Faulkner - Studio Zoo Featured

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Imagine a zoo with the absence of its animals and that is what we're left with on this colourless album. 'Studio Zoo's saving grace is Newton Faulkner's undeniable authenticity as one of the coolest acoustic musicians on the scene. Abandoning production tricks and backing roars, he has presented himself as the zoo-keeper to his own talents. In true hippie style, this entire piece of art has been recorded in Faulkner's home studio and streamed online like an open heart, for the eyes and ears of his fans and followers. 


The most illuminating element to this album is the sense that it was born from the type of artist with art in his heart, rather than money on his mind. Newton's busking roots remain alive in 'Indecisive' and this is a guy who voices his emotions freely. While Faulkner's vocals are the bones of this track, you can't help but miss the musical synergy that only powerful production could deliver to complement the haunting lyricism. 


The simplicity of 'Studio Zoo' is beautiful, bordering on boring, and only those in search of depth will find it. 'Innocent' confirms that Newton has fallen from grace and taken his music there with him. 'Keep Trying' tells the narrative of a man who is pulling himself through a despairing struggle with the realities of life.


Heartbroken souls like Faulkner shine in solitude and 'Plastic Hearts' is a real example of how straightforward self-production can result in a positive feel. The melody strummed on this track gives the album the little lift that it needs, and with ignorance to the tiresome lyrics, it ticks all of the boxes for an easy acoustic listen.


Overall, an artist as real and spirited as Newton is difficult to fault. Sadly, be as it may, this self-produced album is a washout in comparison to its predecessor. Faulkner is set to charm an audience in Leeds at the o2 Academy on February 15, 2014. If you value raw acoustic talent and an intimate atmosphere then this night will be memorable. 


Hayley Thompson

Music and writing make me happy, so I write about music.


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