Winnipeg-based Elessar Thiessen was forced, like so many others in his native Canada, to stay indoors often during the winter months. He passed the time through music, buying his first guitar at the age of eight. With a little help from Cam Friesen (drums, percussion), Brody Britton (percussion), and David Landreth (bass), Thiessen is clearly trying to implant himself in the same category occupied by John Mayer, Jason Mraz, and Ed Sheeran.
From the get-go, he claims that he doesn’t want to just write another love song in his introduction named, aptly enough, “Another Love Song”. The sound of rain opens up the track, with Thiessen’s vocals and an acoustic guitar joining in. It’s an almost-delicate track that sounds very much like John Mayer or Jason Mraz. The song is sparse and slow, a hesitant expression of a confession that makes the singer-songwriter seem open and vulnerable—a combination sure to make more than one heart swoon. “I Need A Woman”, a soul- and blues-imbibed pop number, is a mid-tempo ballad in which Thiessen lists what defines his kind of girl, which includes writing him a love song. The track will probably remind listeners of yet another crooner of this day and age—Ed Sheeran.
The piano-led slow ballad “Lover Dear” is just as sparse and sweet, and comes off as a list of reassurances from Thiessen to his lover who is going through some difficult times that have taken the passion of their singing. In the pop imbibed “I Don’t Wanna Go”, Thiessen reflects on the sometimes overwhelming responsibilities that his life has imposed on him and how he is going to have to let others help him not lose either control nor his identity. The blues-imbibed, drum-led “You Girl” features Alexa Dirkz, who adds powerful vocals to the album that contrast with Thiessen’s soft, almost delicate ones.
There is a rock edge to “When The World Ends”, in which Thiessen contrasts a light and almost cheerful piano-led melody with dark thoughts on just how and when the world might end. There is a second silver lining to this track: the advice near the end of the track of how to live a meaningful live before the end of the world, however horrid it might be, making this a track with a socially important message.
“Without Him” is the first track on this album with lyrics that are not simple or straightforward, making it one of those poetic, deeper types of numbers listeners can find different meaning in. Some mild distortions to the vocals add another layer of mystery to the track as a whole. The contrast between the quieter sections and the increasingly loud and layered ones made for a captivating listen. A slight Americana/Western vibe seems to have percolated its way into “Truth”, an upbeat and cheerful positive track about breaking away from perceptions and imposed truths to reach for our true selves.
Even though the thought of a rainy week in paradise may seem depressing, Thiessen makes it hopeful and optimistic in the radio-friendly title track. Instead of being soaking wet and freezing cold outside, we are inside, hands around a cup of hot cocoa. Perhaps this is the feeling Thiessen associates with winter; a warm, cozy, cheerful home set within the embrace of a bejeweled white coat. It’s quite clear in the mid-tempo, guitar-led ballad “Sister” that Thiessen is very proud of his sibling, whoever she may be. It’s easy to imagine an older brother leading his sister for a dance on this song on her wedding day a few moments before everyone in the crowd—and potentially the bride—require massive amounts of tissues.
A Rainy Week in Paradise ends with the mid-tempo, guitar-led soulful “The Perfect Bloom”, a cheerful and warm track sure to leave listeners uplifted. The album might sound familiar, but Thiessen has enough character to have put together a sound that will linger in one’s ear. Tracks are available for streaming on SoundCloud. More information is available on his official website and his
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