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Faith Healer’s new album opens with what might be considered an ancient sound in 2017 — a busy dial tone on a landline kicks off the lead track “Waiting.” It’s one of the many analogue references and vintage callbacks woven through the fuzzy psych-pop of Try 😉, the band’s second full-length album, which comes out in just a few weeks via the Vancouver-based label Mint Records. While Jessica Jalbert’s debut album as Faith Healer, Cosmic Troubles was helmed by her with input and contributions from fellow Edmonton-based musician Renny Wilson, Try 😉 sees the two moving into a full partnership. Their sound is a distinct reimagining of serious rock elements through the more carefree lens of pop, splitting serious guitar solos with gauzy synths, and layering Jalbert’s airy vocals above it all.
This second record moves farther from the ornate flourishes and prevalent psychedelic elements of Jalbert’s debut, and pushes into more concise, clearer rock songs. But that doesn’t mean they’ve lost any of the fantastic, rubbery ’60s rock influences, blissed out power-pop, or hypnotic, deadpan delivery that made Faith Healer’s debut an immediate standout. Try 😉 builds off all the first record’s initial sauntering and turns that momentum into a bluesy swagger. Somewhere between dream pop and classic rock, that’s where Faith Healer intercedes. It’s one of the most varied albums I’ve heard in 2017 when it comes to influences, and Jalbert cites everything from Big Star to Bonnie Tyler as inspirations for her own work. There are elements of cathedral-like stillness, like on “Sterling Silver,” and psychotic country breakdowns, like “Might As Well,” which we’re premiering below.
“Might As Well” follows up the debut track “Light Of Loving” as only two tastes of the forthcoming record, so listen below to get a preview of this great new album, and read my conversation with Jalbert, which covers everything from sneaking out of her house as a teen, to her relationship as a solo artist working with Renny to their full-fledged partnership, and creating personal art in a time of political tumult.
Before we get into other stuff, the song we’re premiering today off the record is “Might As Well.” Can you talk a little bit about writing that one and how it fits into the larger context of the record?
Yes, this is one of the song that we recorded several times. There are other versions — we didn’t bother mixing them or anything — but there are other versions of this song that are a lot softer and more, like how the opening track, “Waiting” turned out. More in the easy-listening style. But then, it wasn’t really getting the point of the song across, so we tried it out in a more rocky honky-tonk way. When I listen to this song, I think it’s like a honky-tonk bar song. I love it. I think it’s one of my favorites, and I can’t wait to perform it. To me, it just sounds like a country bar song, or something like that. Except for the vocals, obviously, which… I can’t really pull that twang off.
The song is about how I used to sneak out of the house all the time when I was a kid. Because I lived in rural area, I’d sneak out and just walk around smoking cigarettes surrounded by farmland. I didn’t really have any friends, and there was no store, there was nothing for me to do. But, the window was just small enough that I could shimmy out of it. I would sneak out all the time, and just kind of wander around. Sometimes I’d only be in my underwear or something like that, and it felt so salacious. So the song is about a young person who’s trying to figure themselves out, and finally just figures out that they are who they are, and they might as well keep going.