VISSIA Takes Charge on the Multifaceted 'With Pleasure'
Published Apr 28, 2021With Pleasure finds Edmonton's VISSIA chasing satisfaction across genre lines.
Her previous album, 2017's Place Holder, delivered smart, amped-up folk, but With Pleasure's 10 songs traverse pop, soul, R&B and rock en route to resonant sentiments, backed by a range of musicians — six are credited across the album — to shape its sounds in myriad ways. The expanded palette serves VISSIA well; the heart pulls one in many directions, so why shouldn't music do the same?
Opener "Doorway" finds her sorting through lingering memories of a past relationship before shifting into a guitar-and-organ kiss-off that underscores its end: "You could never offer me the key / To the rest of our lives." "My Wom" is a strutting ode to one who's "Fine on her own / But she knows how to hold space," and "Take It Apart" layers urgent synth and bass into spry '80s power rock, complete with a guitar solo.
These big, kinetic moments all land well, with VISSIA's singer-songwriter eye for detail anchoring the range of styles in vivid lyrical strokes. As a result, With Pleasure's more reflective songs offer further richness: "Walk Me Home" sorts through personal highs and lows in a bent-not-broken piano ballad, culminating in a realization: "Never thought I'd find a way to love every person I've become." "Never Gonna Be the Same" renders an ode to an imperfect connection — "Maybe we weren't good for each other / But I know we are still good people" — in breezy soul. And after the celebratory bounce of "High with U", "About Moving On" closes the album on a softer, drifting comedown of unresolved feelings.
But With Pleasure's finest two moments are its most cathartic. "On My Mind" is a rush of exhilaration from start to finish, its magnetic vocal hook coasting over a pulsing dance beat, while the neo-soul of "The Cliffs" splits at its chorus like rainfall over an arid prairie drought. It's a brilliant moment in an album full of them, showcasing VISSIA's growing command of multi-faceted pop. (Hurry Hard Records)