Immediately throwing us into the magic with the tune of rain and piano, ‘Castles’ – the latest effort from Elisabeth Maurus, better known as Lissie – immediately demands your attention. While she’s known for her huge vocals, her thrashing guitars and commendable stage presence; Lissie‘s latest album has her quietest opening yet with ‘World Away’ – and it’s all the more haunting. A short-but-sweet resistant ballad to loss narrates just one of the many scenes she sets on the album.
The funk-infused lead single from last summer, ‘Boyfriend’, marries perfectly in sound and theme with second track ‘Crazy Girl’. Both showcasing Lissie’s ear for incredible melody, her songwriting strength and the versatility of her voice as an instrument. Expanding on this with title track ‘Castles’, where Lissie softly announces she would ‘Live and die for love alone‘ and later howls the observation ‘Wouldn’t it be good, if we could rule together; Love the way we should‘; providing the singer with perhaps her greatest written pre-chorus ever.
‘Castles’ largely builds on the themes of her previous records, in particular her last two efforts ‘Back to Forever’ and ‘My Wild West’. Though, there’s no thrashing pop-rock moments that fans may have become accustom to from singles like ‘Further Away (Romance Police)’ or deeper cuts such as ‘Shroud’.
However, that doesn’t stop ‘Castles’ from becoming another timeless record for Lissie to have under her belt. In fact – when paired alongside her previous efforts – it slots itself nicely to write almost a ‘quadrilogy’ of not only a distinct musical journey but a personal that documents Lissie‘s move from the Californian west coast to a farm of her own in the midwest a couple years back.
Perhaps a genre this record steps Lissie into more of would be that of a pop sphere. Albeit a dream-pop one. With tracks like ‘Best Days’ and ‘Love Blows’, she makes her stride to mixing her adult-contemporary sound and a mash-up of radio’s mature top 40. Remarking on the irony herself, Lissie was quoted to say that “It’s the record people always wanted me to make.”
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And maybe that’s true. But when you’re known to surpass the vocals of none other than Stevie Nicks and give not only Bob Dylan a run for his money in songwriting skill – could you blame anyone for wanting the best of the best from Lissie?
01. World Away
02. Crazy Girl
04. Blood And Muscles
05. Best Days
06. Feels Good
09. Love Blows
10. What Am I Gonna Do
13. Meet Me In The Mystery