After a two year break following the release of her third studio album ‘Into the Light’, London based songstress Elissa Franceschi is back with her newest offering ‘Devoid Of Rue’. After building up a significant online following via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, this five track EP was funded entirely by a pledge music campaign, an online scheme that see’s fans getting involved in the funding of musical projects.*
Within three months Elissa had surpassed the 100% goal and reached 119%. “It’s very special to think that it’s being funded by the fans.” She said during an interview for my online magazine Music Is Love, “I thought it was going to fail, I was at about 30% for the first 2 months, then I gave it a massive push and it just went nuts.”**
And it’s easy to see, or rather hear, why. There is no denying that Franceschi is an extremely talented artist, her delicate yet powerful piano-driven pop music has seen her land a performance at the London Olympic park on the Emerging Icons stage, sell out her EP launch show at London’s Notting Hill Arts Centre and gain national air play on Radio One, after her single ‘Salt’ was voted track of the week, surpassing the likes of Beyoncé and Justin Bieber.
Speaking of ‘Devoid Of Rue’ Elissa says, “content wise, they are stories from a girl who, simply put, was a little bit broken for a while, but she came out the other side.” So it’s clear that this record is a very personal one, and in true Elissa fashion all the songs are hopeful, powerful, and have emotion in spades.
Opening track ‘All These Days’ is empowering from the get-go, with lyrics like “time to dry those tears, I am done with this.” The gentle opening allows the bridge – with its steady burst of drums – to build up to the chorus, which crashes through with its uplifting melody and bucket-loads of optimism that will leave listeners with a smile on their face long after the song is finished. It shows that, even in the midst of a difficult situation, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Next up is ‘Oceans’, a much slower and sombre affair. Brimming with sentiment, the raw emotion is almost palpable throughout. It perfectly captures the emotional turmoil that comes with being in the thick of a heartbreak, and will no doubt elicit a strong emotional reaction from anyone who listens to it.
In contrast ‘Outside My Body’ is cheeky, playful, and flirtatious. Arguably the most up-tempo track we’ve heard from Elissa until now, the song has an almost jazzy feel to it, and shows that she isn’t just all about the ballads. It’s also one of the first songs where you can hear the changes Elissa has undergone musically, namely, now having a band behind her. There is definitely a party vibe running throughout this track, though the theme of heartbreak still lingers, the dark undertones expressed by lyrics such as: “I’m looking for some temporary magic, I know the fairytales don’t last.” But overall it’s fun and, I expect, great to experience live.
Penultimate track ‘Chasing Something’ slows things down again and embodies the beginnings of accepting a break up, much like a moment of clarity after all the pain and confusion has somewhat subsided. Similarly, final track ‘Dust’ centers around letting go and moving forward, which can be seen through lyrics such as, “you can’t say that I didn’t try, I guess I just had to say goodbye.” Elissa’s smooth and powerful vocals accentuate the emotion of the track beautifully, and the track its-self ties everything together brilliantly and works to bring the theme of the EP to a close.
Personally I really love and enjoy this record, and even though the running theme is love and heartbreak, that doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom. It’s stark in its realism which makes each track poignant, beautiful and extremely relatable. When I last spoke to Elissa she said, “I hope [the EP] sounds epic and at the same time incredibly intimate.” And I for one think she’s done exactly that.
So, what’s next in camp Franceschi? I hear you ask. Well Elissa has just announced a six date Autumn tour, see banner below for venues and cities, and has also been confirmed as a Headline act for ‘Underground Festival’ in September.
*I wrote an article on fan-funding and similar schemes for my online magazine. Click HERE if you want to check it out, it’s the first long feature: ‘With A Little Help From My Friends.’
**If you’d like to see my previous interviews with Elissa, click HERE for our 2011 interview ahead of the release of ‘Into The Light’, and click HERE for the interview we did on ‘Devoid of Rue’ and the Pledge Music scheme, for my online magazine Music Is Love.
Sophie says: Sorry about the wait on this review! I know the EP was released a while ago now but this EP carries a lot of significance to me personally, in that I can hugely relate to it. So it was important to me that I had enough distance to write about it from a journalistic stand-point for the blog and not just gush about it, because the tracks did inspire strong reactions from me (Oceans in particular made me cry the first time I heard it!) I think it’s great when people can relate to music but I didn’t want my journalistic opinion to be overshadowed because, it really is a fantastic EP. But don’t take my word for it! Go and give it a listen and see for yourself.