Hippie college rock icons like Jack Johnson and Donavon Frankenreiter and their brand of surfer folk always seemed like a distinctly American phenomenon, but ginger-dreadlocked Briton Newton Faulkner dispels any such idea.
With an armful of Ben Harper and Pearl Jam records, Newton grooves his way through this debut with an acoustic guitar floating in and out of his backing band. Earnest choruses like People Should Smile More give the impression that Faulkner writes his songs mostly in sunny weather, which seems odd for someone hailing from the grey streets of Surrey, England.
And he’s a bit late to the party covering Massive Attack’s Teardrop. José González nailed it last year on the far more recommendable In Our Nature.
Faulkner lights up the Horseshoe January 15.