FAITH HEALER - Cosmic Troubles LP
Dark red vinyl with download.
Long before Jessica Jalbert began recording under the Faith Healer moniker, she fostered a tight collaborative friendship with fellow Edmonton-bred polymath Renny Wilson. They’ve made boppy garage rock in Tee-Tahs, kicked up a racket in Punk Explosion, and even played in a smattering of cover bands. In 2011, Wilson was a key contributor to Jalbert’s solo album Brother Loyola. So when Jalbert set about creating her first album as Faith Healer, she naturally called on her old buddy to help out. The result of these productive sessions is the debut LP Cosmic Troubles.
Jalbert wrote this material while absorbing a steady diet of psychedelic rock from the ’60s and ’70s. This fixation translates into inventive songs that combine the sun-kissed sparkle of classic pop harmonies with head-swimming trippiness and forays into thundering fuzz. She and Wilson played all of the instruments themselves, with the latter also handling production duties.
Cosmic Troubles captures the warmth of the Summer of Love along with an eclectic sense of anything-goes adventurousness. Opener “Acid” finds Jalbert renouncing hallucinogens after a bad trip, but the wah-laced fretwork suggests that she might still be feeling some of the drug’s after-effects. “Canonized,” on the other hand, swaps out woozy psych for speaker-assaulting distortion, its titanic chorus sounding like a long-lost hit from the grunge generation. Expanding the palette even further, the blissfully airy hooks of “Until the World Lets Me Go” are bathed in watery guitar jangle, while “Angel Eyes” begins with pensive pastoral plucking before unexpectedly speeding up during its cloudburst finale.
Clearly, Jalbert and Wilson bring the best out in one another. They have already covered a lot of ground over the years, but Cosmic Troubles is their greatest triumph.