Newton serves perfectly pleasant but bland tunes
Write it on Your Skin
Newton Faulkner helped pave the way for the proliferation of have-guitar-will-travel type of singer-songwriters who have mushroomed in recent years.
Think Ed Sheeran, Ryan Sheridan and Jamie Lawson.
Now, after a three-year gap, the dreadlocked ginger surfer is back with a third album that showcases his well-intentioned but unrelentingly dull brand of kitchen-sink songcraft.
Faulkner certainly knows his way around a catchy melody -- and Write it on Your Skin is not deficient in this regard -- but there's a difference between composing a song that fulfills the usual requirements of daytime radio playlisters and one that suggests a truly accomplished songwriter is at work.
Lead single Clouds is a case in point. Here's a perfectly pleasant song that potters by in three minutes or so, but once over you're likely to struggle to remember the first thing about it.
And that's the problem with Faulkner -- there are precious few moments that stop the listener in their tracks.
Like much of the fare here, this tune features lyrics that could have been taken from any number of self-help books: "Stop looking down at the ground, Pick it out of the clouds, No one's gonna put you down, Just let it out, let it out." Indeed.
The feelgood vibe that permeates the album can be explained by the birth of his first son -- and he has attributed the three-year gap between this album and his last to the demands of fatherhood. Yet, there's a possibility that this long gestation has come at the expense of his material -- his songs may be sunny, but they feel stale too.
A notable exception is the happy-go-lucky title track, which bounces along at a giddy canter and may yet be something of a guilty pleasure for those legions who find little to celebrate in Faulkner's music.
KEY TRACK Write it on Your Skin
Day & Night