Elessar Thiessen seems like a somber chap, what with the opening song on his debut album A Rainy Week in Paradise and a bio that talks about “finding the darkest corners of our souls.” In that opening track, “Another Love Song,” Thiessen tells us he doesn’t want to write such a song as he croons over the sound of falling rain.
However, things pick up a bit on the next track “I Need a Woman,” in which Thiessen starts off sounding like Jason Mraz, before morphing into fellow hoser Michael Buble—but not quite as happy-go-lucky. The guitar melody in the bridge is phenomenal, by the way, and where this challenges many songwriters, Thiessen makes the most of it. This is true of many of the songs on the album.
Thiessen eventually shows he is not all that melancholy and is capable of dabbling comfortably with various styles while still maintaining his singer/songwriter cred. “Truth,” for example, is pure pop/folk that rivals Mumford & Sons or the early days of Canada’s once great Crash Test Dummies. Not quite Americana, it’s Canadiana. One of the album’s best tracks.
“When the World Ends,” despite its dour title, also winds up being a peppy number. To balance it out, Thiessen, like so many of his contemporaries, gets the blues. “You Girl” is more of West Coast/Santana blues rock exercise though, while “I Don’t Want To Go” gets a bit prog-rocky. Toward the end of the track, he gets his guitar sounding like a Moog synthesizer. Very cool.
Back on the mellow side, “Love Dear” is a piano based number that sounds like it could have been written for a period movie set in the 1950s. At the same time, it sounds very 21st century and oscillates between a paired down Ed Sheeran and an even more heartfelt Olly Murs. Then he throws you another curveball with some Bryan May-like guitar.
Thiessen’s bag of tricks never seems to run out of sounds and styles, and he leaves the listener with the feeling that he still has a lot more up his sleeve.
9 Stars Out of 10
PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.