Faithless — Reverence. A brief history of each track from the band’s debut album

George Palladev 11.10.2021

Faithless — Reverence. A brief history of each track from the band’s debut album

“I’d been wanting to do an album for ages, but I didn’t really know how long the whole process was supposed to take,” recalled the invisible member of the band Faithless and one of its founders Rollo Armstrong. “When it came down to it, it was an intense experience, all very quick. It took 17 days because I marked them all down in my diary.”

Faithless was originally conceived as a band of one record: Salva Mea, which they released in the spring of 1995. There were many such one-hit wonders on Rollo's label and beyond. But the participants liked working together and decided to record an LP. By that time, Faithless had gathered an interesting team of bright creative units: Sister Bliss wrote music, Maxi Jazz rapped and wrote the lyrics, while Rollo defined the vision and sound of the group, distributed tasks and, most importantly, said what the next track would be about. For example, he told Jamie Catto that he wanted a ballad about a guy who could make any woman fall in love with him in a day. In a couple of hours, Jamie came up with Angeline. “To me, major chords are horrific sell-outs. All you need to top them is some silly singer singing silly lyrics. And I absolutely hate inane lyrics. Hate them!” Reverence is a rebuke to everyone who considered Faithless to be an exclusively club band.

“The album just reflects my music collection,” Rollo continued. “And as with most people, that means a whole selection of styles, from hip hop to house, to REM... whatever. I probably listen less to house than anything else at home. People should really give us the benefit of the double. We are evolving, and that’s only healthy. Loading up that old 4/4 beat, sticking on a huge riff, working out a breakdown and finito! You can’t keep doing that forever. I want more out of my life that just turning out dance tracks for amyled-up clubbers. In any case, that very same audience listen to music when they’re not a clubs and this album will be the ideal kind of nourishment for them when they’re at home. Rest assured that I will be making house music for as long as I can walk. But what we’re basically doing with the Reverence album is asking people to be a bit open-minded and to come on this little dversion as well.”

Below is the band members’ explanations what each of the ten tracks means in the album.


Rollo: “This was the first track on the album to be written. Reverence in a sence, is the key to the album, it’s a kind of manifesto. It’s a four-minute Bible on how to love your wife.”

Don’t leave

Sister Bliss: “Because of the scratch on the recordings, Mel (joint owner of Cheeky) said we’d get loads of returns from the American Mid-West. But we made this track for Britain, and anyway, the scratch is in time.”

Salva mea

Maxi Jazz: “This track was originally entitled Scream. It's all about the inability of people to see how brilliant and talented they really are. If you believe you are no attractive or not talented, that is how the world will perceive you.”

If lovin’ you is wrong

Sister Bliss: “Rollo said he wanted a love song. Maxi forgot all about the Buddhist inner light for a moment and came up something altogether more earthy. A song about shagging.”

Dirty Ol'Man

Rollo: “We walked all over London in dirty raincoats with a DAT recorder to get those playground samples. No, I didn't ask any kids if they wanted to go and see some puppies...”


Jamie Catto: “Rollo is into narrative, which is a great relief to me, because that's what I've always written. This song focuses on a fictional character and then creates a little world round that person.”


Sister Bliss: “This is personal to me. I never get enough sleep. The first time I dropped this in a club, you could see it struck a chord. It was about 3:30 in the morning and nobody that night was going to get any sleep.”

Flowerstand man

Rollo: “I wrote this with my sister, Dido. Years ago, she was head-over-heels in love with a bloke who sold flowers by the tube station. He was a reel geezer. All the secretaries fancies the pants off him.”

Baseball cap

Maxi Jazz: “If a negative thning happens to you, you can sometimes turn it into a positive thing. Like if someone beat me up and stole my favourite baseball cap, it would make me realise that I was lucky not to be knifed, lucky to still be alive. That's more important than the loss of material object.”

Drifting away

Sister Bliss: “If you shag right the way through the album, this is the perfect end. The obscure snipped of opera is about a woman who kills her baby. It's a nice bit of atmosphere to round off the album.”