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Faithless - All Blessed (Album Review)

Monday, 26 October 2020 Written by Jacob Brookman

‘All Blessed’ is the first Faithless album since their (theoretical) farewell record, ‘The Dance', in 2010, and also their first not to feature former frontman Maxi Jazz, whose bassy lyricism helped define their sound on all their biggest hits.

Instead, there are a selection of guest performers alongside Sister Bliss and Rollo, including spoken word poet Suli Breaks, British dance music royalty in Jazzie B and the excellent Nathan Ball, who sings on lead single Synthesizer, which is almost the album’s best and worst song at the same time.

It actually sounds like an improved version of BodyRockers’ cringey I Like The Way from 2005, with more intelligent production, composition and a finely tuned vocal performance. It relies on familiar Faithless motifs of diaphanous synths, zen beats and thoughtful structural progressions.

Similarly, I Need Someone (featuring Ball and Caleb Femi) offers astral softness and mindful storytelling. As with most of ‘All Blessed’, the balance of the mix is just about perfect and the interplay between Ball’s singing and the underplayed rapping of Femi is really affecting. 

Faithless have always managed to jam a lot of innovation into their music despite the rigid limitations of the dance genre in terms of chords and time signatures. An excellent example on this album is What Shall I Do?, which uses a braying bass motif and elaborate vocal treatments to great effect. The title track is also splendid despite coffee and ketamine overtones that suggest a certain druggy pomposity.

In general, ‘All Blessed’ is a record of careful Balearic influences, occasionally straying closer to late night radio mixes and chillout sessions than the earth-shattering anthems that made Faithless a national concern. That said, it is not throwaway and the political tracks—Walk in My Shoes in particular—offer a crucial salve in a scene that is too often politically and socially agnostic. Faithless are back, and hopefully when festivals begin to return they will once again become a fixture on the circuit.

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