Th' Faith Healers

Peel Sessions (Ba Da Bing!)

SXSW Records

Th' Faith Healers

Peel Sessions (Ba Da Bing!)

The early Nineties sprouted more than enough mediocre fluff from its sweaty, grungy pit. Then you get bands like Th' Faith Healers, an English quartet whose noisy, dirty, understated catchiness wafted through the underground. These Peel Sessions, recorded 1992-94, are like smelling salts. The fuzzy chainsaw of opener "Hippy Hole" jerks post-punk with singer Roxanne Stephen yelping "It's cool to smoke, look at flowers, take some of that, shake for hours!" The bulldozer pull of "Reptile Smile" pummels and jackknifes for nearly five minutes; the repetitive jive of "My Loser" feels like Can at times, while the white-hot thrash of "Get the Fuck Out of My Face" sounds like X falling down the stairs at a Wipers show. On "Bulkhead," Stephen does the bleach-scream, and all of a sudden its Seattle 1991 again. It's her voice that truly carries the noisy ammo of guitarist Tom Cullinan, drummer Joe Dilworth, and bassist Ben Hopkins, but the band is their best when they lock into a repetitive groove (the hypnotic "This Time," "New Number Two") and push their instruments closer to the edge. Here's to missing that "early Nineties smell." (Friday, March 17, 12:45am @ Blender Balcony at the Ritz)

***.5

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