Faith & the Muse showcase a bittersweet musical composure and a dramatic sense of romanticism within darkwave compositions. Monica Richards and William Faith, the duo behind the gothic Elizabethan melodies and Victorian soundscapes, involved themselves in dark rock & roll early on, playing in various bands and creating musical chaos before the ethereal mystery of the Faith & the Muse.
Monica Richards, already a punk rock girl in the early '80s, became the face of the D.C.-bred band Strange Boutique. It was more hardcore punk than dreary goth rock aesthetic, and her time with the band also included opening gigs for the Meat Puppets, Bad Brains, and the Circle Jerks. She formed Madhouse in 1983, and that band released several singles and a debut full-length, but by 1987, Richards had rejoined Strange Boutique once more. Richards and her bandmates went on to become one of D.C.'s biggest alternative acts, later sharing the stage with Killing Joke, UK Subs, and Xmal Deustchland, as well as releasing two EPs and an album. In 1993, while on the road in support of The Charm, Strange Boutique opened a series of dates for the Shadow Project, and that's when Richards met William Faith.
Faith had previously worked with Christian Death, Mephisto Walz, and the Sex Gang Children, and by the mid-'90s, he wanted another musical outlet besides being in a group. His musical work with Richards led her to move to his native Los Angeles on a permanent basis so that the two could fully focus on Faith & the Muse. Their first musical composition was a cover of the Bauhaus classic "Hollow Hills, which would be featured on the 1996 compilation A Passion of Covers: A Tribute to Bauhaus. In 1994, they issued a debut album titled Elyria, which grounded the underground club hit "Sparks" and two years later, Annwyn, Beneath the Waves was released. The lush fairytale elements were far more haunting this time around, marking Richards' and Faith's commitment to artistic creativity. Countless tours and festival dates across Europe and the U.S. filled the remainder of the '90s, and upon 1999, the band released another album, Evidence of Heaven, as well as Richards' and Faith's own label, The Mercyground. While recording Evidence of Heaven, however, they endured the sad suicides of Christian Death's Rozz Williams and Faith & the Muse bassist JT Murphy, as well as Richards' grandfather. Such dire times called for a well-deserved break, and the two set off to hibernate in their L.A. digs. Two years later, they rekindled a spark, for the Faith & the Muse inked a new deal with Metropolis and surfaced with their fourth album, Vera Causa, in October 2001. This particular double-disc included previously unreleased remixes, covers, and live tracks alongside cult classics like "The Unquiet Grave" and "The Silver Circle." In 2002, Richards contributed vocals to the Viva Death self-titled effort. A year later, Faith & The Muse returned with their first album of original material in five years. The Burning Season, which appeared in July 2003, marked the pair's most experimental work to date. ~ MacKenzie Wilson