Elessar Thiessen is many things, but easily definable is not one of them. Nor should it be, for when you possess as much talent as the Winnipeg-based singer-songwriter does, the best music comes from explorations of genre, of theme, and of atmosphere. In A Rainy Week in Paradise, Thiessen digs deep into variation and shows what an excellent songwriter he can be.
The album begins, fittingly, with the sound of rain and a soft, poetic melody (“Another Love Song”), before drizzling into the cheery, percussion-laden “I Need a Woman”. The third track, “Lover Dear” is an album highlight. The track features supporting vocals from Catherine Wylee and a cozy vibe that grows and grows until it bursts into an electric guitar solo. “I Don’t Wanna Go” matches almost-despairing lyrics with an optimistic cadence quite wonderfully, while “You Girl” (which features Alexa Dirks) feels a little more experimental, with each voice balancing the other.
The sheer size of “When the World Ends” and the incredible piano pattern makes it another highlight on the album. The quiet, poignant ending just punctuates the immensity. The album’s title track is a cheerful tune with depth carved out of layers. The penultimate track, “Sister”, is a testament to Thiessen’s clear awareness for what comes before and what follows. It is a juxtaposition to “A Rainy Week in Paradise” but blends seamlessly into “The Perfect Bloom” with that thematic rain storm. A variation on his more common song structure, “The Perfect Bloom” uses quietness as a weapon instead of big sound. The catchiness of the track leaves a lasting impression of the album. A great closer.