There are few dance acts with the longevity like Faithless. Ever since they broke out in the mid-1990s with “Insomnia” and their debut album Reverence, the group has become one of the most important British musical acts of the past three decades. Maxi Jazz, Sister Bliss and Rollo all have their own successful solo careers, but together they are a cultural force that not only seeks to make people dance, but also tackles war, government oppression and racism. They released their last album The Dance in 2010 and that was supposed to be the end of the group, but just as 2020 has given all sorts of twists in horrible ways, it has given us a gift in a different form – a new Faithless album out today titled All Blessed.
However, this is a different reorganized Faithless. This time they are just a duo without frontman Maxi Jazz, which gives the album a very different feel vocally. There are fewer spoken word segments though those are still present and an important part of the Faithless ethos.
Like some past albums, the LP is seamless and has a blissful, late night feeling. I took No Roots for a walk last night around Brooklyn and this album has a similar feeling, though sonically they have some differences, notably the production sounds updated for 2020. The songs flow from one into the next almost like a DJ set without being obviously mixed, which makes this album fly by without you really noticing.
They sound reinvigorated after a time working on their own and away from the group. All Blessed is blissful, tranced out and Balearic, but just as they have in the past, the pair tackle social issues. “What Shall I Do?” wades into the ongoing battle over immigration, as competing voices offer differing views to the issue. One says to be kind to refugees fleeing war, while the other posits immigrants waste public resources and take what limited stuff there is for the people in the UK. “Walk In My Shoes” brings the positive message to stop judging based on pre-conceived barriers such as race, religion or creed and walk in someone’s shoes to try and understand them.
“In this troubled and increasingly violent world, this album reflects what has always been the Faithless manifesto: be conscious, be caring, love yourself so you can love others and understand who you are and where you are,” explain Faithless. “Never polemical but hopefully intelligent and (occasionally!) inspirational - this is music with feeling and words with meaning.”
There likely aren’t any massive arena sized hits with this record and that is ok in the current times without any arenas or festival gigs on the horizon, but tracks like “Synthesizer” or “All Blessed” could be explosive when we are all back. The single “This Feeling” didn’t make the cut, but there are still quite cheery, uplifiting tracks to provide a mood balance like “Innadadance” and “All Blessed.”
Faithless show they haven’t lost a step 10 years on from The Dance and sound ready for another 10 more years at this rate. All Blessed takes on the divisions that are tearing apart societies in a very Faithless kind of way, while remaining as blissed and tranced out as they have done with a record in nearly 20 years
Get your copy of All Blessed here.