Faith Healer

When Edmonton’s Jessica Jalbert first began performing solo under the name Faith Healer, the alias was her way of avoiding being pigeonholed as a singer-songwriter. Now, however, times have changed: Faith Healer has blossomed into a band, with singer-guitarist Jalbert joined by drummer/multi-instrumentalist Renny Wilson. Their first LP as a duo is called Try ;-) and it will be out on September 8 through Mint Records.

The follow-up to 2015’s Cosmic Troubles was largely recording during an intensive month-long session in September 2016 at Wilson’s personal studio in Montreal. During the process, Jalbert rented a room in Wilson’s house and the pair spent hours jamming and listening to bargain bin rock records in the basement.

“The last album had a lot of flowery ‘60s flourishes,” Jalbert explains. “This time, we wanted to simplify it and just do some straight-ahead songs. Focus on the song itself rather than all of the production.” The pop-rock arrangements are still overflowing with beautiful sonic details—from the Twin Peaks synths that enshroud “Sterling Silver” to the funky clavinet that’s nestled within the paisley-patterned pop of “& Waiting—but the instrumentation is stripped down enough that it can be faithfully recreated by a live band. Jalbert and Wilson were inspired by the garage-punk snarl of Wipers, the deadpan drama of Leonard Cohen’s Death of a Ladies’ Man, and the classic songwriting chops of Scott Walker and Elvis Costello.

The relatively stripped-down arrangements, combined with Jalbert’s graceful hooks and pitch-perfect delivery, make Try ;-) sound effortless. The truth, however, is that its creation was anything but simple: the songs were meticulously crafted with great effort, with plainspoken lyrics that thoughtfully reflect on self-empowerment, depression and appreciating the good in life.

“Light of Loving” is a particularly wild ride, with a stormy five-minute groove that ebbs and flows between skulking fuzz riffs and sudden explosions of careening drums. It was originally written as a looping drone that Jalbert performed during a solo set, and it took its final shape during an epic jam session with Wilson. “We jammed on it for four hours and recorded the entire thing,” Jalbert remembers. “By the time we were finished jamming, my hand hurt so badly I had to stick it in the freezer and ice it.”

The intensive creative process inspired the title of Try ;-) and serves as a reminder that sometimes you need to grab life by the horns rather than waiting for inspiration to strike. As for that winky face: “I always use that winky emoticon,” Jalbert says with a laugh. “I think it’s hilarious. I think it’s cheeky and fun, which is something I was trying to access a little more with this record.”

Balancing melancholy lyrics with playful moods, lush melodies with straightforward arrangements, Try ;-) is the sound of an introspective loner leaving her bedroom to make a rock record with her best bud. It’s what happens when you stop taking life as it comes and instead throw all of your effort into making timeless pop songs. Forget what the bullies told you in middle school—there’s nothing cooler than trying hard.







Upcoming Shows

Wednesday February 28, 2018
Rec Room - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Thursday March 1, 2018
Broken City - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Friday March 2, 2018
Zack's Coffee - Kamloops, BC, Canada
Saturday March 3, 2018
The Astoria - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Monday March 5, 2018
Sunset Tavern - Seattle, Washington, USA
Tuesday March 6, 2018
Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, Oregon, USA
Wednesday March 7, 2018
The Chapel - San Francisco, California, USA
Friday March 9, 2018
Bootleg Theatre - Los Angeles, California, USA
Saturday March 10, 2018
Title TK - San Diego, California, USA
Tuesday March 13, 2018
Valhalla - Austin, Texas, USA
Thursday March 15, 2018
Hotel Vegas - Austin, Texas, USA
Tuesday March 20, 2018
Poor Boys Bar - New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Wednesday March 21, 2018
Neptune's Parlour - Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Thursday March 22, 2018
- Greenville, North Carolina, USA
Friday March 23, 2018
Black Box Theatre at American University - Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Saturday March 24, 2018
The Soundhole - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Sunday March 25, 2018
Elsewhere - New York, New York, USA
Wednesday April 4, 2018
House of Targ - Ottawa, Ontario, USA
Thursday April 5, 2018
The Casbah - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday April 6, 2018
El Club - Detroit, Michigan, USA
Saturday April 7, 2018
Pioneer - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Sunday April 8, 2018
MOTR - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Tuesday April 10, 2018
Empty Bottle - Chicago, Illinois, USA
Thursday April 12, 2018
- Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Friday April 13, 2018
Saturday April 14, 2018
Bar Le Ritz PDB - Montreal, Quebec, Canada