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.
Cosmic Troubles is out 3/31 via Mint.