Adding his hat to the growing ring of musical free spirits is Canadian-based Elessar Thiessen who delivers plenty of soulful vibes on his full length debut, A Rainy Week in Paradise. With sonic influences that range from Jason Mraz to John Mayer, Thiessen is deceptively talented, his easygoing casual manner one that takes listeners by surprise as he weaves tales that wind days of personal sorrow but ultimately resolve in themes of hope and encouragement.
An artist who took to his craft early in life, Thiessen makes his living day to day as a full-time producer. Having worked alongside Zane Zalis and Juno-winning producer Jordan Jackiew, Thiessen ably taps into his experience in the studio to help leverage his own work. The result is an album that is silky smooth, allowing for the artist’s deft vocal tones and great guitar work to shine through.
From the very first strains of “Another Love Song,” it’s tough to not compare Thiessen to Mraz, his vocals and soundscape immediately drawing comparisons that continue throughout the record. Yet the artist creates his own hybrid on “I Need A Woman,” adding in some bluesy John Mayer-esque runs that give things a different twist while some warm keyboard fills lend emotion to the gentle pop of “Lover Dear.” Boasting some more bluesy chops, “I Don’t Wanna Go” is an upbeat jam bolstered by some tight percussion courtesy of Cam Friesen while Alexa Dirks is featured on the sultry “You Girl,” rippling B-3 and smoking guitar runs rolling throughout.
Up to that point, the tracks toe pretty traditional pop lines, Thiessen simply giving them his own twist and turn but with the introduction of “When The World Ends,” the artist starts letting more of his creative juices flow, stepping away from the usual relational fare and diving into deeper waters musically and lyrically. A dissonant soundscape counters lyrics that argue against the woes of the world while Thiessen lets it all hang out in the bridge, raging guitars and screaming vocals holding sway before “Without Him” rolls in with more moody tones and sweltering blues notes.
“Truth” resonates with an almost acoustic gospel flavor before evolving into something more fully realized while the title track is a musical respite, mid tempo tones laying the foundation for lyrics that find the silver lining in spite of circumstances. “Sister” counters that lighthearted vibe with an overture that reads with plenty of seriousness and is colored with warm, mournful acoustic guitar before the record comes to a close with the easy breezes of “The Perfect Bloom,” closing things out on a happy note.
Elessar Thiessen’s work definitely draws influences from Mayer and Mraz but through and through he is able to take them and mold them into something that is wholly his. Packed with warm vocals, a solid pop sensibility, and some great musical chops, A Rainy Week in Paradise is a welcome debut from this talented artist.