By Jared Majeski
Jessica Jalbert, indie paladin of acid dream-in-denim psych pop, has been writing so many pleasant earworms over the years it’s really quite exciting to think about what the future holds: not just for her personally, but the crew of Edmonton musicians who tour and perform with her. Looking back since her first proper solo LP over half a decade ago, fans and those in the know should see that the humbly talented songwriter/guitarist can craft a damn good pop song. “Paris Green” from her solo release, Brother Loyola, “I Wish That I” from art-punk supergroup Tee-Tahs and “Acid” or “Universe (Whatever ‘Till You’re Dead)” from the lauded 2015 Faith Healer release Cosmic Troubles: there’s a reason why these songs could be the soundtrack to you and your pals making all the right questionable late-night summertime decisions.
A big part of this is Jalbert’s kismet partnership with producer Rene “Renny” Wilson, a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist and sentient crushed velvet suit playing a vintage Hammond. Try 😉 is their second Faith Healer release, and sonically there’s a pretty linear connection between this new record and Cosmic Troubles: pleasantly washed-out production, delicate layers of ‘60s and ‘70s keys and guitars and effortless vocals that question and search.
While the album is a tight nine tracks, you can still hear the evolution and experimentation sprinkled in every new song. A piano fill or third guitar lick may only be a few bars long, but it’s in those moments you can really hear Jalbert and Wilson’s cosmic growth (the fading outro to the title track is a great example). “Light of Loving,” an absolute journey that starts off with a subtle 13th Floor Elevators riff, slow burns into over five minutes of percussive cruise, fuzz and speaking-panning organ. The starts, stops tones and changes on “Might As Well” sounds like Ardent Records in ‘70s Memphis. “2nd Time” vibes like an outdoor folk music festival, especially with those downhome piano tickles and rare acoustic guitar (!) solo, while “Sufferin’ Creature” probably wouldn’t sound too out of place on Velvet Underground’s Loaded.
Try 😉 feels like self-exploration and reflection on expectation versus reality. Whether it’s for fun, for love or for reasons unknown, we all sometimes do crazy, inexplicable shit. And you know what, that’s fine. As French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette once said, “You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”Faith Healer, Record Review, Try ;-)