Faith Healer

Cosmic Troubles

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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada's Jessica Jalbert used to be a solo artist, turning out pleasantly pastoral indie folk. A change of direction caused a name change and now she's Faith Healer, playing a brand of relaxed and woodsy neo-psych pop. With the help of friend and producer Renny Wilson, her debut album, Cosmic Troubles, sounds homemade in the best ways, small-scale and human, while still bursting with good ideas. Its charms don't always reveal themselves at first, but after a few listens you might find yourself hooked by Jalbert's pillow-soft vocals and the happily calm mood. Alternating between spooky slow ballads that feature Jalbert in sleepy Sandy Denny mode and midtempo, almost chillwave tracks that have a wobbly beauty, the album weaves a web of sound that is only broken by a couple of sure-fire, should-be hit singles, the rollickingly fun "Again" and the pocket-sized Stereolab drone pop gem "Universe." These little bursts of energy do much to make the album work, and so do the different textures the duo brings to each song. The guitar and bass sounds vary from song to song, the guitar solos are bathed in all sorts of cool effects, and there is plenty of care put into how the songs sound separately and as a whole. The songs are strong enough that they could have played everything straight and it would have been fine; the level of imagination they put into the feel of the album makes it special. While not truly a debut, since Jalbert has been around awhile, Cosmic Troubles does herald the arrival of a band doing psych pop in an idiosyncratically unique way, something that any scene, and especially a scene as crowded as this one, desperately needs.

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