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Sounds like … a modern day Andrae Crouch influenced by Babyface, R. Kelly, and D'Angelo, blending soulful pop and R&B with touches of jazz and gospel.At a glance … a few poor production choices mar what is otherwise an enjoyable and uplifting pop gospel debut.Track ListingFaithHold OnInner Joy (interlude)I Trust YouInterview Part 1Let It All GoInterview Part 2Stop SearchingUnconditional LoveHolyAll I NeedYou CarePraise Dwells Within
Anthony Faulkner is one whose face may be as familiar as his voice. The actor has made guest appearances on UPN's Moesha, NBC's American Dream, and F/X's The Shield, as well as the 2001 film The Brothers. But music is the first love of this songwriter, producer, and singer, who's toured with Andrae Crouch and recorded on projects by Yolanda Adams and Steve Cole. Now Faulkner finally steps forward with his own project Faith, which has already made a splash with "Stop Searching," a No. 1 hit on Yahoo Internet Radio.
Crouch has clearly influenced Faulkner, and his soulful blend of R&B and pop resembles that of Babyface, R. Kelly, and Charlie Peacock's late collaborator Vince Ebo. Faulkner has an inviting voice with occasionally jazzy overdubbed harmonies, and he puts it to good use in a variety of styles. The title track has a slight Caribbean feel, while "Unconditional Love" demonstrates more of the artist's acoustic side. The Oslo Soul Choir of Norway makes an energetic addition to "Hold On," and Nikki Potts of The Kurt Carr Singers adds a sweet duet to the ballad "Let It All Go." There's also some worship on the softer "Holy," and Faulkner gives an impressive gospel finale with "Praise Dwells Within."
Faith is a likeable and uplifting pop gospel debut, but at times it's rough around the edges. A handful of songs ("I Trust You"), go through one too many awkward key changes, and there are a couple of bad production choices, like the annoying leaky faucet percussion in "All I Need." The skimpy packaging only contains lyrics for one song, probably to help cut costs. And, sorry, but it's simply poor form to cram 10 minutes of a radio interview near the album's middle after just three songs. This would have served everyone better as a bonus track at the disc's end. None of that, however, is enough to refute the album's high points that prove Faulkner not just a talent to watch, but also one worth listening to.