After images surfaced of Chet Faker’s shaven hipster beard, it became clear that his next efforts would be an attempt to somewhat distance himself from his previous work. Chet Faker’s newest collaboration with Marcus Marr is, as expected, substantially different from what we’re used to. The four-track EP Work is perhaps less of a step forward than an enormous leap sideways, although the calm, soothing nature of Chet Faker’s vocals remain as comforting as ever.
‘The Trouble With Us,’ is the first we heard from the new EP, and it quickly demonstrated the new direction that Faker has taken. It’s a razor sharp departure from the lo-fi, downtempo tunes of his first album, Built on Glass. An unusually upbeat track, ‘The Trouble With Us,’ is funky, groovy and unapologetically catchy. It’s characterised by jagged guitars and a shrill falsetto hook that carefully bursts into the colourful, sing-a-long chorus (“Ooh God, that’s the trouble with me/I need the trouble with you.”) It’s certainly one for the dancefloor, and has all the ingredients of a perfect funk song, with the ever so familiar chill factor of Chet Faker.
The rest of Work is quite different to ‘The Trouble With Us,’ with the three remaining tracks being extended in length, each running for over 6 minutes. Opener, ‘Birthday Card,’ feels like one of those club tracks you could dance to endlessly on a night out, although lyrically, it seems to become something more profound as Faker chimes in quietly with, “I want to be something/I want to feel your heart”. The light, pulsating instrumental beat travels slowly into a fine bridge boasting a psychedelic-influenced guitar solo, the single coming together wholesomely and without hesitation.
‘Learning For Your Love’ is sonically similar to ‘Birthday Card’; a drawn-out introduction moving slowly into an opening verse. Despite this, the chorus of ‘Learning For Your Love,’ erupts into an ‘80s inspired synth based display. As the EP draws to a close, ‘Killing Jar,’ is soulful, while still somewhat heavier than the other tracks. Unfortunately, it’s length works against it, as it does not aptly demand attention as soon as the other tracks. By the three minute mark, the track grows in complexity, with a strong bass and guitar joining the backing instrumental. Faker’s vocals are on point here, however, and the track certainly shines at some points.
Chet Faker and Marcus Marr’s collaboration, Work EP is a unique change of pace. Like his previous productions, the tracks seem meticulously thought-out and well crafted. They’re just somewhat different. Work feels like a demonstration of growth and change – neither a step forward nor back.