Faith Healer’s latest album is otherworldly

Jenni Roberts, aka Faith Healer
Jenni Roberts, aka Faith Healer

On the eve of Faith Healer’s album release show, Jessica Jalbert is hoping it will, in fact, be an album release show. Physical copies of her Cosmic Troubles might not arrive in time to crown the festivities, due to the very corporeal trouble of a massive backlog at the record-pressing plant. It’s the peril of an industry where the infrastructure is far behind the resurgent demand for vinyl, one that’s already forced Jalbert to adjust the release-party date to accommodate its schedule once.

“This is my second rescheduled release show, so now I’m just throwing my hands up—well, whatever,” she says. “If it shows up, great. If it doesn’t, it’s going to be a party.”
As chagrined as anyone would be, given the circumstances, Jalbert seems pretty chill about the whole thing. And though delayed in its physical form, Cosmic Troubles—Jalbert’s first album under the Faith Healer name, and the inaugural release on Vancouver’s Mint Records, too—has already seen some excellent traction on the Internet, where it’s been streamable for months.

Cosmic Troubles finds Jalbert expanding on 2011’s Brother Loyola, reenvisioning that album’s otherworldly folk-pop musings in richer, bolder hues. The album was recorded, like Brother Loyola, with now-expat musician Renny Wilson, crafted together in two large chunks when the pair could get in the same room for dedicated sessions. Which, given Jalbert and Wilson were working at the same record store at the time, proved to be a tricky feat of scheduling.

“We technically finished it not this last Christmas but the Christmas before,” Jalbert recalls. “But then decided it wasn’t done, so we went back to it and recorded a few more songs to throw on there.”

“I would say we worked quite quickly while we were there,” she adds. “If we had had the opportunity to just take a month off of work, we probably could’ve done it all in a month. But that’s not the way it works.”

The most major shift apparent on the completed Troubles is in the writing, which Jalbert notes was done with a richer arrangement in mind. She’d written most of Loyola’s songs with plans to perform them by herself; she now has a full band backing her, something she’s kept in mind during the songwriting process.

“A lot of the stuff from my first record were just songs that I’d been writing to try and impress people at open mics and stuff like that—[to] establish myself as a songwriter,” Jalbert says. “Right before I recorded Brother Loyola, I had, at that point, just begun to have a full band. … The next batch of songs that I started writing were definitely fully acknowledging that they wouldn’t be for solo performance. I didn’t really write anything that I planned on playing alone.”

“I guess I wanted to focus on that, and used the band that I had to my full potential,” she continues. “I’m able to play around with the sounds that they’re capable of: lots of guitar solos, lots of little synth runs that I wouldn’t normally have in a song, and stuff like that. Lots of tambourine.”

Fri, Jun 12 (9 PM)
With Caity Fisher, Catgut
Space, $10

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