Nick Murphy Previews New Songs at Sotheby’s

The artist formerly known as Chet Faker played an intimate acoustic show on April 2.

Nick Murphy, more popularly known by his former stage name Chet Faker, performs at Southby’s on April 2. (Photo by Xin-Rui Lee)

With a soulful voice and a distinctive Australian accent, Nick Murphy, more popularly known by his former stage name Chet Faker, has won over fans around the world with his R&B-influenced electronica.

Now, five years after the release of his debut album “Built On Glass,” he’s finally announced his follow-up “Run Fast Sleep Naked,” slated for release on April 26 via Downtown/Future Classic/Opulent. An odd mixture of industry types, fans with friends in the right places and “people…exhibition” populated the small room that Murphy played to at Sotheby’s in Manhattan on April 2.

Co-produced by Darkside’s Dave Harrington and mixed by Murphy and Phil Weinrobe, it took four years and a solo, soul-searching globe-trot to craft the 11 tracks on his new album. Recorded with a 15-piece band and the occasional full orchestra, fans can likely anticipate “Run Fast Sleep Naked” to deviate from past sounds.

“Sanity,” the first single released from the forthcoming album, is a frankly forgettable track, carried by a plinky, uptempo piano melody that sounds like a deliberate appeal to popular tastes.

He ambled on stage clean-suited, fully bearded and wearing a stylish string of prayer beads around his neck, perhaps a nod to the shaman-esque role he believes artists play in contemporary society.

“I really like these songs,” Murphy admitted nonchalantly. “It’s the first time I’m playing these songs in front of other people […] things are good.”

Following a tender piano rendition of “Talk is Cheap,” Murphy picked up a guitar and started playing it with a bow, singing a haunting falsetto that echoed through the room.

He remarks on how “very respectful” the audience is, quiet and attentive of his ambient soundscape that conjures images of northern lights and starry skies.

Among the new tracks performed, Murphy introduced “Harry Takes Drugs on the Weekend,” as his “favorite song [he’s] written of all time.” A somber number that alternates between the first and third person — evidently, Harry is a thin veil. The lyrics allude to a debilitating drug habit that Harry cries out for help with through the repeated refrain “Cos I’m losing, ‘cause I’m losing, ‘cause I’m losing my mind.”

Murphy starts his world tour to promote “Run, Fast, Sleep Naked” on April 26, including two nights at Brooklyn Steel on July 12 and 13.

Email Xin-Rui Lee at [email protected].

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