The harsh climatic conditions of Elessar Thiessen‘s Canadian neighbourhood meant a lot of staying inside for him when a boy; consequently, he started playing the guitar and writing music when he was eight years old. So, we have a lot of weather to thank for his musical career and his latest release, “A Rainy Week In Paradise” (released 10th June, 2015).
A singer/songwriter channelling a soul/jazz tradition, the eleven tracks take us through some raw emotions and great musicality, both from Thiessen (guitar and keyboards) and his assembled band on this record. But its greatest asset is his smooth, soulful voice. He weaves in and out of the melody, like a jazz singer. Self-produced and with all songs written by Thiessen, A Rainy Week In Paradise is an apt title, given the light and shade here – upbeat themes, downbeat woes, quiet acoustic guitar and amplified toe-tapping.
Sparse, languid and melancholy, “Another Love Song” begins the album, and then “I Need a Woman” picks up the pace, as Thiessen lists the virtues he’s looking for in his perfect partner. An electric guitar solo breaks up the song nicely, as does the solo on “Lover Dear”. On “You Girl” (feat. Alexa Dirks), we are treated to some excellent bluesy organ and guitar – I would have liked more blues-tinged songs like this.
Thiessen can do more melodic, catchy pop too, as on “I Don’t Wanna Go“, and gets rockier on
“When The World Ends“, in which he ponders the cheery thought of when and how the world will end, with some good advice about the right way to live, thrown in. If you want intriguing lyrics that need a lot of thought, try to work out “Without Him“. My favourite track, however, is “Sister“, one of the simpler arrangements, with a sweet sentiment on said sister and how Thiessen is proud of her.
Some of these tracks may take a few plays to grow on you, but this album offers a fresh perspective from the singer/songwriter output and is ultimately uplifting.
Listen or buy on Apple Music: