Faithless Reverence

On this month 26 years ago: Faithless released debut album ‘Reverence’

26 years ago, on 8 April 1996, Cheeky Records released ‘Reverence‘, Faithless‘ debut album. The impact made by this event still resonates today in the UK and around the world, forming one of the most important chapters in the history of electronic dance music.

‘Reverence’ was re-released later the same year with a bonus CD ‘Irreverence‘ and in 2002 came out again as a ‘Special Edition‘, containing some exclusive remixes. Back in the late 90s, there weren’t that many genres and subgenres, but to characterise this album we’d have to consider house, dance, trance, progressive, some downtempo and especially trip hop. ‘Reverence’ is as eclectic as Faithless themselves, sounding like one of those sweet assortments where you get to taste something different one by one. The test of time is perhaps the hardest that music and artists have to face, but both the disruptive British formation and their debut album have passed through it with flying colours. Today, in 2022, listening to each of the 10 tracks from ‘Reverence’ remains a delight. The irreverence, disruption and freshness are still alive today and are a good barometer by which to measure the power it had 26 years ago. It’s no coincidence that the album reached No. 26 on the UK Albums Chart.

Back then, and perhaps without really realising it, Rollo Armstrong, Sister Bliss and Maxi Jazz took the name Faithless into the trenches of a musical revolution, opening the door to a paradigm shift. Whether live or in the studio, Faithless offered a very different kind of dance music from what was being done at the time. EDM was more superficial, not very dense, and what the trio wanted to offer was music with juice and substance. Music with a message, a concept that seemed simple but was hard to achieve when you talk about the electronic circuit.

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Image credit: Chris Dewhurst/FKP Scorpio