Published Sep 06, 2017Psychedelia has always been about the mind. Like their forbearers, Edmonton psych-pop duo Faith Healer are concerned with the cerebral, but they take a more subdued approach on their latest record, Try ;-). Through lighthearted lyrics and a broader musical palette, singer-guitarist Jessica Jalbert maps out inner thoughts, preoccupations and anxieties with poetic detail.
These expressions can be diffuse, but Jalbert articulates them well. Images of flowers, pools and fire combine on "Light of Loving" to create the impression of an epiphany or a fever dream. "Sterling Silver," meanwhile, makes obscure mentions of cherry glows and empty saucers feel haunting and wistful.
At her best, Jalbert mines the discrepancy between her lyrics and her music to wry comic effect. "Such a Gemini" pits its narrator's dramatic, "dissolute mind" against an understated melody and a steady organ. "Waiting" may argue for the pleasures of patience, but its guitar part seems to build with every stroke.
Jalbert's lyrical punch lines couldn't land without strong arrangements, and Try ;-) features some of Faith Healer's most diverse efforts yet. Synthesizers have crept into the band's repertoire, not just as an ornamental flourish on tracks like "2nd Time" but as a key element of their sound. As a result, tracks like "Best Saved 4 Last" don't always cohere with the rest of the album, but they're poignant enough to justify inclusion.
Ultimately, Try ;-) succeeds because it offers an expanded outlet for the band's subtle charms. That alone should keep it at the forefront of listeners' minds. (Mint)