On its sophomore album Try, (Mint Records) Canadian (Edmonton, to be exact) indie rock band Faith Healer introduces a slightly more muscular edge to the comparatively laid-back psychedelic pop approach of its 2015 debut effort Cosmic Troubles. The dreamy, airy, psych folk by way of 1960s and 1970s singles feel is still gloriously present, but singer and songwriter/guitarist Jessica Jalbert and producer/band member Renny Wilson have expanded on their sound by adding a stronger emphasis on letting guitars rock a bit more.
Jalbert’s lovely vocals are ethereal without being fragile, and fit each song splendidly, from the hazy ballad “Best Saved 4 Last” to the classic boogie rock feel of “Might as Well,” to the David Lynchian-atmosphere of synthesizer-laced mood piece “Sterling Silver,” to the hypnotic, fuzz-laden trippiness of “Light of Loving.” The guitars ramp things up from Cosmic Troubles with a bevy of catchy guitar hooks that run the gamut from crunchy to mesmeric, mid-tempo and uptempo chord progressions that may bring to mind some classic underground-rock and blues-rock bands, and solos that range from swirling to full-tilt rock. Some playful musical arrangements belie introspective, melancholy lyrical messages, which makes delving into Jalbert’s words and soulful vocals all the more exciting.
The band has said that this album was influenced by listening to Leonard Cohen’s Death of a Ladies’ Man, Elvis Costello, Scott Walker, and The Wipers — excellent artists, indeed. Faith Healer manages to sound particularly like none of these acts, though. Jalbert and Wilson may have learned from these greats, but they have crafted a thoughtful album that provides a unique sonic soundscape that is all their own.
Try is a terrific album, and for those who have not yet been introduced to the pleasures of Faith Healer, a fine introduction to this wonderful band.