Th’ Faith Healers was an indie-rock/noise rock/krautrock/shoegaze quartet from Hampstead, England. They were active between 1990 and 1994. Shoegaze was just starting to become a serious thing. Krautrock was experiencing a rebirth. Noise for the sake of noise was also making a bit of a comeback. It was the right time for them to be doing what they were doing. Of course I’m partial, because those were also my college years and my years of heavy involvement in college radio, but I still swear that the first half of the 1990s was a golden era of indie rock.
Anyway, Th’ Faith Healers put out two albums and a few EPs. After the band split up, their label released a Peel Sessions EP and also a compilation of a bunch of the B-sides. Today’s song is one of those B-sides.
I don’t think that there was a real reason for the way they called themselves Th’ as opposed to The Faith Healers, but there was a time when they added “UK” to the end. They took it off again later. There were a couple of other bands during the era who were forced for copyright reasons to tack a “UK” to the end of their band name, but I don’t think theirs was one of those cases. No matter what, they were the first band signed to Too Pure Records. That’s the label that discovered PJ Harvey and helped to launch the career of Stereolab.
Although the band signed to the label in 1990, they didn’t release their debut album —Lido— until the spring of 1992. Prior to that, they put out two EPs in 1991. Picture of Health and In Love. I don’t have these, and I don’t have any idea how many were made or if any copies still exist. What I do know is that today’s song came from the first of those two EPs. On that EP, they called it “Gorgeous Blue Flower In My Garden”. By the time that song was packaged on L’, four years later, they had shortened the name. On the back cover of L’, it’s called “Gorgeous Blue”, and on the disc itself, the song is labeled “g.b.f.”. Whatever you want to call it, it’s brilliant.
“Gorgeous Blue Flower In My Garden” by Th’ Faith Healers
I like the tease at the beginning with the jangly guitar. Even as the bass, then the drums, then the electric guitar build and fold in, the sonic pop that comes at 0:53 is still pretty shocking. That’s one of my favorite things about this songs. I also like that there are lots of different levels of the “noisy” part. I like the bits when it slows down a bit. I really like the bits where there’s a bit of a pause in the guitar onslaught. For example, the ones at 1:29, 1:32, 1:35. Just enough time to bounce up and down during those tiny guitar pauses. Those tiny little pauses happen in bursts of three at the end of each verse right before Roxanne Stephen gets to the “Gorgeous blue flower in my garden” lyric.
There’s yet another turn at 4:25. It suddenly becomes a punk song right then. Louder, faster, harder, and more bass-y. And without vocals for the last two passes. Those little pauses that I like so much get covered up by the pace of it. Listen for where they would be at 6:00, 6:02, 6:04.
It’s a real shame that this song wasn’t on one of their proper albums, but it’s brilliant that it finally did see the light of day one year after they called it quits. I mean, I’m sure that it was a live standard, but I never saw them.
Play this song loudly on real speakers. And feel free to jump around.
You can and should get L’ from the amazon store here.