You really just know what Newton Faulkner is going to sound like before you've even heard a note of his music. I mean, c'mon - with a name like that, he has to be some sort of late-twenties, Antipodean quasi-hippy, sandle-wearing beach bum with a guitar, right? Well, kind of. The quasi-hippy part is spot on if Faulkner's long ginger dreadlocks are anything to go by. The guitar assumption, also concrete. However, although the twenty-two year old Mick Hucknall lookalike may have a penchant for songs perhaps best heard around a campfire or on a beach, it's far from sunny climes that he was raised. Honing his extremely adept guitar-playing skills in Surrey, England, Faulkner's debut album comes hot on the heels of much-enthused breakthrough single Dream Catch Me. However, lacking the lyrical capabilities of contemporaries like Jack Johnson or Jose Gonzalez or the vocal prowess of Paolo Nutini, Faulkner fails to engage the listener for a single song amongst the seventeen on offer here - and although his instrumental skills are certainly impressive, they're not nearly enough to carry an entire record. At times sounding like a Curtis Stigers-Adam Levine hybrid, Faulkner transmits numerous laugh-out-loud-in-embarrassment lyrics such as 'I need something to believe in, because I don't believe in myself' and 'It's just an observation I can't ignore / That people should smile more' over a soundtrack that's inevitably either a bittersweet, lovelorn ballad embellished with predictable vocal harmonies (All I Got, Feels Like Home) or a lively, upbeat ditty that sounds like it belongs on a kids' TV programme (Gone In the Morning, UFO). Massive Attack fans, too, will be pissed as a Newton at the atrocious cover of Teardrop on display here. Devotees of the aforementioned Johnson and Nutini will no doubt have found a new idol in Newton 'Battenberg' Faulkner, but that doesn't change the fact that Hand Built By Robots is one of the blandest albums you'll hear all year.