Somewhere between Ben Harper, Elliot Smith and Dave Matthews exists Londoner Newton Faulkner and we’re all the better for it. Hugely melodic and instantly accessible, Hit the Ground Running is a class act from start to finish and one of the year’s finest.
There’s something evocative and personable in a collection of songs that are written and performed on acoustic guitars. Even on tracks that are overdubbed with their electric counterparts, you can still hear the modest acoustic roots running throughout the song and that feel is ever present here. For Faulkner, he’s in his element, in top form and at his glorious best. To still possess the same bright energy six albums in is worth acknowledging on its own.
From the effervescent opener of Smoked Ice Cream, ne’er a foot is put wrong throughout these 14 tracks. Title track Hit The Ground Running, All She Needs (which should grab plenty of radio attention), Been Here Before, Finger Tips, There Is Still Time, The Good Fight, Never Alone, Carry You, and Don’t Understand instantly stand out yet the whole thing works as one complete journey.
There is playfulness to his vocal as he jumps in and out of falsetto dalliances with unexpected zest. The songs are deceptively stripped back yet are decidedly sophisticated and oozing with style. He jumps from breezy pop, crunchy alt rock, blues and folk without ever losing any character.
Hard to resist and high rotational, Hit the Ground Running marks an artist with his faculties all working at full capacity. It’s a roster of all killer no filler tracks and, if you have never encountered Newton Faulkner before, should see him score more than a few new fans. Get on this, people!