[Album Review] Faith Healer- Cosmic Troubles
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Release Date: March 31st, 2015
Label: Mint Records

This is technically Jessica Jalbert’s second solo album, but it is the first record under the name Faith Healer. Do not worry – if you were a fan of her work as Jessica Jalbert then you will enjoy Faith Healer. Having said that, the change in name also came with a change in approach. At its heart, the music is still essentially pop, but there’s a new grittiness, and some of the songs definitely have a harder edge.

“Universe” is one of the album’s standout tracks and it is also a good example of the new Faith Healer sound. It’s a medium tempo number with some kick-ass acid-rock guitar licks. Jalbert glides above it all, though, as if intrigued but not sullied by it all. She does this throughout the entire album, as a matter of fact, maintaining her breezy, chamber pop persona no matter what is going on around her, be it the wild experimentation of “Was, Is and Is To Come”, the electro vibe of “No Car”, or the Velvet Underground-inspired psychedelia of “Acid”.

This is all a reflection of her stoicism, however, and not an indication of distance or insensitivity. Jalbert unflinchingly tackles some serious issues here, such as physical abuse and depression/suicide. The fact that she is able to still perform joyous, celebratory pop music is testament to her strength of character and to her unwillingness to wallow in self-pity.

Jalbert is a natural charmer with the ability to make it all sound effortless, when in fact ‘Cosmic Troubles’ is a work of intricate subtleties (thanks in part to her producer Renny Wilson). The magic she weaves here provides yet more evidence that Edmonton is rapidly becoming the new Mecca for innovative independent music in Canada.