Faith Healer
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Faith Healer

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE | AFM

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
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This band has not uploaded any videos

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"Faith Healer - Cosmic Troubles"

On 2011’s Brother Loyola, Jessica Jalbert asserted that "I’m not the records that I own, and I’m not the things I’m good at." That those points needed making says plenty about the Edmonton songwriter, who’s since refined her '60s-styled indie-pop under the Faith Healer alias. Jalbert, who seems both assured and self-scrutinizing, sidelines in the kind of record-collecting, plainclothes punk bands who covet the Troggs over the Pistols, which frees up her solo work to dive into her daydreamy subconscious. On Cosmic Troubles, her second solo album, she shares private epiphanies and stares at her bedroom ceiling as the universe unravels.
Recorded with longtime collaborator Renny Wilson in his parents’ makeshift basement studio, Cosmic Troubles sounds every bit as excitable and debut-fresh as Brother Loyola. It meanders calmly from in thrall to enthralling, and enjoys the trip—by the chorus of "Canonized", Jalbert and Wilson are playfully excavating White Album-era Beatles via the shambling exuberance of the Raincoats, and it sounds fantastic. If there’s little impetus to write great songs that don’t sound like other great songs—usually, it transpires, songs by the Velvet Underground—the references rarely grate; it’s a record that keeps its influences close, like childhood toys under the bed, in a way that’s reassuring rather than cumbersome.
For much of the album Jalbert sings in a calmly vacated tone. Her demeanor is neither ingenuous nor jaded, and she has the dreamy air of somebody who’d spend therapy sessions psychoanalyzing her shrink. Despite the record’s rigorous self-analysis, Jalbert owns her self-consciousness, and applies it on her own terms. Sometimes it becomes a principle ingredient. "Fools Rush In" embodies the narrator’s hypercritical subconscious in a taunting Beach Boys harmony: "I'm so stupid, ba-ba-ba." "Again" taps into the goldmine of whimsy that links neuroses and laundry—"It’s a pain to stretch yourself out after being through the wash"—while "Angel Eyes", conventional but no less enchanting, opens its heart with the unrelenting steadiness of Leonard Cohen and Angel Olsen. For all its stylistic play, the record’s tenor is uniformly self-certain.
So it’s all the more alarming when it cracks. The title track, for one, is musically on-point, with haunting echoes of Jefferson Airplane. But its words depict a domestic dispute in stark terms: "I was out of my mind with my hands around my neck/ You raised yours to slap them off, and I raised mine out to protect." After the heavenly "Infinite Return", "No Car" kicks up a heavy riff, before describing a recent breakup from which the partner’s fingers are "bruised into my flesh."
In these fragments Jalbert’s songwriting seems to crystallise, her gentle dredging a way to send you fathoms deep into her mind without having to follow all the way. At times it sounds like, having grown out of nihilism, Jalbert is reaching for the nearest tune to get lost in, her stories a psychic sojourn on the route home to oblivion. By the time you return to "Fools Rush In", where she slides from lackadaisical soul-searching into idle contemplations of suicide-by-drowning, Cosmic Troubles sounds a sadder, vaster album than before, but one whose meditations can soothe your bones like an inviting stream. - Pitchfork Media


"Stream Faith Healer - Cosmic Trouble"

On the opening track for Faith Healer’s debut record Cosmic Troubles, Jessica Jalbert clutches onto the train of “Sweet Jane“‘s dress and drags her down into an anti-drug PSA. It’s the perfect opener for an album that’s riddled with sly, self-deprecating references to classic, bluesy acts like the Velvet Underground, the Band, and ’60s lo-fi plus a huge dollop of Jalbert’s own sweetly deadpan alto. She’s worked frequently with her producer and friend Renny Wilson on past projects, and while he contributed to Cosmic Troubles, this album plays start to finish like the vision of a woman eager to create her own universe. “Canonized” challenges the titular concept entirely with the wry lead off “I was canonized too early,” listing off the problems this caused. Later, on “Fools Rush In” she calls herself stupid with the light, sarcastic air of a compliment, all while a bass line that would’ve made Robbie Robertson nod his head in approval thrums along in the background. Cosmic Troubles is dreamy at its core but still grapples with flesh-and-blood issues too, like on “No Car,” which does a drive-by on an abusive relationship with the airiest vocals and churlish, repetitive bursts of guitar buzz. If you took dream-pop and put it through the dryer with a meticulous collector’s stockpile of ’60s vinyl, then you’d have Cosmic Troubles. Then there’s Jalbert’s voice, floating above all that warm nostalgia like an all-knowing narrator who refuses to reveal the plot twists until the time is exactly right. Listen below. - Stereogum


"Faith Healer - Cosmic Troubles"

After the release of her solo record Brother Loyola in 2011, Jessica Jalbert dubbed herself Faith Healer and teamed up with producer Renny Wilson, her longtime collaborator and friend. Together, their sound is heavily influenced by ’60s and ’70s psych rock, but it’s still bright and upbeat enough to conjure images of summer, even when the weather is bleak. We’re excited to have an exclusive premiere of Cosmic Troubles, Faith Healer’s debut album, before its March 31 release on Mint Records. It’s blissful—just listen: - Rookie Magazin


"Faith Healer - Cosmic Troubles"

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. - Allmusic


"Jessica Jalbert"

Jessica Jalbert confronts death with such cool detachment and playfulness that you’d swear she knows something we don’t. Nearly all the songs on her latest LP Brother Loyola suggest she’s seen the light, and oh, it is sweet. The Edmonton native crafts serene pop melodies with keys, lazy electric guitar, cello and horns with a thick sheen of layered vocals. Despite the fertile instrumentation, the arrangements are minimalist — evoking 60s girl groups (Paris Green, Stupid Hollow) and the ethereal vibes of Memoryhouse or Warpaint (Oh Evening Colors).
Jalbert is rounded out by bandmates: Liam Trimble (guitar) Rene Wilson (keys, drums, bass) and Doug Hoyer (bass) who all serve as a rotating cast of local musicians from the Old Ugly camp that likely sleep on each other’s floors and finish each other’s sentences. This summer, Kuhrye-oo of Born Gold remixed her track Necromancy [necromancy: a form of magic used to summon spirits] in a haunting reincarnation of the original, resonating like hymnal chants splattered on a canvas of beats.
You can grab a digital copy of her record Brother Loyola on bandcamp, or order a 12? vinyl (limited 250 run) via Old Ugly Recording Co. Check out her new video for Paris Green, below.

- Booooooom


"New Canadiana :: Jessica Jalbert - Brother Loyola"


Deep within Canada’s tundradic core lies a lush gully of acoustic majesty. As these warm vibrations pierce the embittered cold, their very migration needs a soundtrack; hymns to carry us while our ancient graves turn barren lives to eternal dust. While the sky turns Paris Green and our eyes drift softly into slumber, Jessica’s hymns persuade; Brother Loyola‘s warmth and gorgeous mellow shall swallow us in a liquid sun of minor-key mourning. The cover says it all: grip.
- Weird Canada


"Listen to Jessica Jalbert’s “Until the World Lets Me Go”"

Edmonton is better known for its mega-mall than its music scene, but a humble collective of artists who go by Old Ugly are re-defining the notion that hipsters only occupy three major Canadian cities. This year, the label has released some of the best blog-worthy gems in indie, rock, and hip hop including one artist in particular named Jessica Jalbert, whose ’90s girl band vocals makes her debut Brother Loyola poised to be our next alt/folk homegirl Lizzie Powell (Land of Talk). Combining dreamy ambient noises layered over electric guitar, Brother Loyola feels like listening to Memoryhouse or Warpaint underwater. This year’s Old Ugly Christmas Compilation (available for pay-what-you-want on their bandcamp) features Jalbert’s nostalgic take on “Until the World Lets Me Go” free to download, exclusively on AUX. - AUX


"Jessica Jalbert Brother Loyola"

At the start of Brother Loyola Jessica Jalbert announces, “I’m going to sing you to sleep,” and then spends the next eleven songs doing exactly the opposite. She composes vividly lit photographs of songs, capturing moments and character and feelings throughout with what initially appears to be only a small range of colour, yet gradually reveals itself to be a very deliberately nuanced palette. In the same vein as other female songwriters like Mirah, Jalbert toys with creations whose basic elements are to be found in a clear, hypnotic voice and a folk-pop core. Nevertheless, at no point does this formula ever stray into the soporific: she is delicate, but not fragile; intimate, but not quite naked. While she certainly does possess aesthetic similarities to artists like Mirah, very little abides on this album which does not feel purposefully placed and hand-crafted. The pictures which she frames are compositions specific to time and place, and are important enough to her to be documented in a way that demands toil and hard labour to perfect—evidently not something Jessica Jalbert shies away from.

They are such fantastically detailed pictures, too. Take “O Evening Colors,” with its strikingly evocative involvement with nature, and the stirrings these encounters produce: “And dear North Saskatchewan river, pray tell / You’re so goddamn gorgeous, but I feel like hell.” The emotional strain of memory and association hangs over the song like a dark cloud, the brooding drums and lingering guitar distortion emanating the same physical discomfort. Elsewhere, the listener is invited to view scenes from the eyes of the protagonist in “Lack of a Lake,” where she adopts various identities from the animal kingdom. We are led to “smell boughs of spruce,” hear the “rustling of a bush,” and “feel the rays of sun” on our backs. Jessica Jalbert’s music consciously awakens a variety of senses, in a way one would usually associate with ambient music, which also evokes specific scenes, settings, or characters. Here, she does so through the gift of poetry, subtle shifts of perspective providing the listener with ample points of entry, so that they too may step into and understand the subjects of her shots.

Thematically, Jalbert often grapples with death. She deploys motifs like “tombstones,” “obituaries,” “Potter’s Field,” and the concept of decay throughout, allowing one’s eyes to rove freely across the frame, addressing one idea before progressing and picking up on the next. Her consistently mournful projection acts as a reflection on the omnipresence of death, an acknowledgment that sometimes nothing more can be achieved than simply enduring a period of grief: a stark truth, but a very real one, and one that is often painful to accept. In “Necromancy,” she permits layers of strings (note: a use of strings which feels neither forced nor obtrusive) to swallow gradually her ode to the lost, until eventually the cleansing is complete. “Aubrey de Grey” sees weighted piano chords herald a funereal march towards a final, repeated regret: “All is subject to decay, Aubrey de Grey.” This repose contains a moment where the clarity of resignation culminates in one last cymbal crash, and breaks into poignant silence. For Jalbert, death can only be accepted, meditated upon, and then commemorated in art and ceremony.

Commemoration frequently (though not always) marks the point at which the impact of death is negated. Brother Loyola is Jessica Jalbert reaching beyond sonic limitations and composing fascinating pictures of death and mourning, amongst other subjects—carefully assembling a collage of objects and feelings personal and subject to her creative touch. The style of music she crafts goes too deep to be found on any Starbucks playlist, the photographs she presents undoubtedly beautiful but not stereotypical enough for me to want to reblog on the Tumblr page that I don’t even have. And that’s the best kind of true, vivid beauty: the kind cliché can’t erode. - Cokemachineglow


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Faith Healer is the moniker for Jessica Jalbert's five-piece solo project.  

The music has been described as "heavily influenced by ’60s and ’70s psych rock, but [it’s] still bright and upbeat enough to conjure images of summer, even when the weather is bleak" (Rookie Mag),  "a way to send you fathoms deep into her mind without having to follow all the way" (Pitchfork), and a blatant ripoff of the Velvet Underground (irate old audience member).  

It sits somewhere between heavily layered psych-rock and saccharine pop, but with a little irreverence and rock riffage to keep it light. 

Band Members