On Faith and Disease's third studio effort, the band finds itself aligned a touch more with another Seattle underground legend, to everyone's collective benefit. Said legend would be the Walkabouts, the accomplished group that touches on everything from rural country to Scott Walker-type ballads and back again -- good company for the similarly broad-minded Faith and Disease. Kevin Suggs, regular Walkabouts producer, assists Cooley behind the boards for this effort, while Walkabouts lead figures Chris Eckman and Carla Torgerson appear on various tracks as well. Eckman adds keyboards to several songs and a wonderful lap steel guitar part to the opening "Perhaps...Persephone," which also features Rosenwasser playing electric herself as well as singing. Meanwhile, Torgerson duets brilliantly with Rosenwasser on the closing "Violet II," with Cooley's deep, moody organ fills and Knouse's dark chiming guitar setting the stage for a mysterious, grand performance that sounds both decades old and completely of the now. The band isn't simply cloning the Walkabouts here or elsewhere, though -- it's another lovely all-around effort from the group, with Knouse especially starting to shine as a guitarist with an individual, powerful performance sense. Cooley's bass work gets several standout points -- "Marie Don't Sleep in Your Makeup" is a particular winner, when three minutes in everything cuts down to his instrument, turning the song into a slow, almost '50s-tinged gloomy strut. Rosenwasser's singing, Furman's rolling drumming, and Knouse's narcotic fuzz guitar complete the elegant picture. Furman himself gets plenty of moments to stand out thanks to the variety of percussion he plays with skill, including djembe, clave, and even Tibetan bell-dribu. The end result isn't Dead Can Dance, but Faith and Disease pursuing its own encompassing muse. There's country twang, there's Ummagumma-era Pink Floyd pacing, and above all there's Rosenwasser with the voice of angels. Simply a wonderful album.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett