new music: nyc underground legends faith return with ‘soul secrets.’ #soundcheck

July 29, 2015

In 1984, singer Felice Rosser borrowed some money from her friend, the great Jean Michel Basquiat, for a bass. His response: “You’ll never pay me back.” She’s spent the subsequent 30 years paying him back by playing bass in various bands, earning a reputation for her effortless grooves and inimitable vocal styling. In between her session work, she’s spent 20 years as the leader of Faith, an NYC roots rock and reggae trio. The trio has spent 20 years operating in fits and spurts. A few years of heavy activity, followed by quieter periods; but lately the band has been in full force, gigging regularly and putting out a new EP, Soul Secrets.

By Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

Rosser’s powerful deep voice haunts the proceedings. On “Soul Secrets,” she is draped in reverb as she sings about unrequited (or maybe just no longer requited) love. Drummer Paddy Boom (best known for giving The Scissor Sisters their beat) maintains an effortless groove that builds and collapses in subtle intensity, while guitarist Nao Hakamada explores the depths between indie rock and reggae. Most compelling in the 4 song set is the spaced out “Lovers,” where Hakamada stretches 3 notes into an anthem.

Soul Secrets adds keys and washed out vocal effects on “Love of a Lifetime,” adding texture and ambiance to their usually stripped back approach. On closer “Carried Away,” Rosser’s stretched syllables paint her thesis: “love isn’t fair, it never looks like what I see in my head / and I’m so afraid to make a mistake and get carried away.” Her massive voice sprawls out, each note a new heartbreak. There’s a reason this trio has earned a reputation as a gem of the NYC underground.