September 26, 2017

LP: Faith Healer - Try ;-)

Faith Healer steers clear of the sophomore slump on Try ;-).

The expectations for a band’s second album are always low. Having forged a distinct sound and identity on their first record, musicians often struggle with what to say next. And yet, the myth of the sophomore slump has often been disproved (I have yet to hear anyone argue that  Brand New's Deja Entendu is worse than Your Favorite Weapon). Faith Healer’s Try ;-), released two years after their debut Cosmic Troubles, also laughs at the fear that a band’s second album is predestined for Shit City. The Edmonton-based band’s sophomore album is a tight, cohesive tapestry of richly textured music, peppered with singer, guitarist and songwriter Jessica Jalbert’s melancholic lyrics.

Try ;-) spans the decades of rock history, with equal nods to the pop noise of The Velvet Underground and the dreamy synth swirls of Cocteau Twins. “Light Of Loving” is an early album highlight, revving like a psychedelic rocket operating on the power of fuzzed-out guitar, organ, and otherworldly vocals to travel back to the 60s. Title track “Try ;-)” and “2nd Time” pay homage to the 70s bass grooves set by the E Street Band and disco stars alike. Still, it's the more minimal Faith Healer songs that tug at the heart strings and overflow the tear ducts the most. “Sterling Silver” and the aptly named “Best Saved For Last” channel late 80s dream pop through haunting synthesizers not unlike the Twin Peaks theme. And of course, one cannot legally release an album in 2017 without a song about astrology, with “Such A Gemini” containing the wryly self-aware line, “He said you’re such a gemini / As if I need reminding.” In any case, Try ;-) is an album meant to be listened to a cohesive unit, not as separated tracks. In a time when the structures, production values and history of conventional rock music are out of vogue, Faith Healer isn’t afraid to stay true to the sounds they admire so greatly. We should thank our lucky stars for it.


Listen to Faith Healer on bandcamp.


Alanna Why is a musician and writer from Ottawa, ON., Canada. She used to play in the pop-punk band BB Cream and is currently working on her upcoming musical project, So Sensitive. Follow her on Twitter @alanna_why.