Faith Healer

Try ;-)

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Try ;-) is the first album as a duo for Faith Healer, and that means some changes. The first record, Cosmic Troubles, was helmed by Jessica Jalbert with help from producer Renny Wilson. They hit it off so well while crafting that somewhat sleepy and restrained neo-psych-pop album that Wilson joined the band and began to help with writing the songs. His presence from the start of the process seems to have given the band a shove into classic rock territory. Or maybe they just listened to a bunch of their parents' old LPs. There is still plenty of sticky psych and dreamy psych-folk in the mix, but there's also a newfound sense of urgency to the playing, lots of guitar solos, sharper hooks, and a much heavier feel to the music. At the same time, they dip their toes into soft rock smoothness ("& Waiting"), lo-fi synth pop ("Sterling Silver"), and some outer space country-rock that would make Beachwood Sparks blanch on the title track. Jalbert's vocals haven't changed much; she's still icy and aloof in the best way, and the core of the band is much the same. A few songs would have blended in fine on the first record, like the drifting "Such a Gemini" and the echoing ballad "Best Saved 4 Last." That being said, it's hard to imagine strutting boogie rockers like "Might as Well" and "2nd Time" finding a home there. The cool thing is that they totally work here, though. In fact, all the additions the duo append onto their original sound only serve to make them sound richer and more interesting. While the first album definitely held great promise, at times it felt a little half-formed or generic. No worries about that on Try ;-); Jalbert and Wilson are in firm control and it's an absolute joy to hear them explore new sounds, combine things that should never fit together but somehow do, and deliver a completely satisfying album.

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