VISSIA Takes Charge on the Multifaceted 'With Pleasure'

VISSIA Takes Charge on the Multifaceted 'With Pleasure'
With 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)