Album Review: A Rainy Week in Paradise by Elessar Thiesen
Look, I like scrappy backstories. In fact, I love ’em- I dig musicians who haven’t come up with the usual backing of studios and labels and omniscient producers behind them (although there is, of course, a place for that kind of stuff). So yeah, when Elessar Thiesen turned up in my inbox this weekend, my interest was firmly piqued. Starting out when he was just eight and had his first fifty-buck guitar, Thiesen has been creating music all the way through his teens and early twenties in various bands and with various collaborators. But now he’s on his own, striking out with the first album of his solo efforts, A Rainy Week in Paradise.
Yeah, slickly harmonised melodies bumping up against acoustic riffs isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste, but there’s more to the album than the big tracks (My Kind of Girl, for example) might suggest. Take the album opener, Another Love Song, which is all about the stripped-back simplicity of his lyrics and his voice and how much emotion he can draw from just those two factors. It’s music created by someone who’s confident that they can convince with their emotional maturity, coming up with something that’s pleasingly original and has an instant re-listenable quality, just so you can dissect the layers a little further.
The pace does pick up, however, on some of the later tracks, with the standout coming in the form of the title number. It’s a bright, energetic, spunky little track that stops just short of sounding too generic thanks to the warmth of the vocals and lyrics. And I think that’s really the takeaway from A Rainy Week in Paradise- it’s rare to come across an album packed full of stacks of lyrics that are memorable in their simplicity, with music that deftly reflects their tone, but this impressive solo debut does just that.