The first thing that strikes you about 24 year-old Elise Cabrét, is the songwriting and musical delivery that transcends her years. A mixture of darkness with a picturesque and heart-felt touch to her outstanding vocal stylings are evident right from the first uttered word, in the first song of her upcoming EP, The Wrong Side of Blue.
The record begins with an emotional rendition named The Calling, which outlines a ‘journey’ type of story-telling within Cabrét’s songs. A well-rounded and carefully held intonation to each almost spoken – yet sung word, plays particular attention immediately to the enveloping nature of the listening experience that Cabrét is so clearly drawing upon. The strongly slow, conversational presence of her sung Australian accent is a key sticking point throughout the record.
We’re positioned almost in a past world through the sunken imagery this EP possesses. To a place of falling brown leaves, the emergence of fog and a quiet, empty street with lone figures lurking; the green tinge of old-fashioned lamp posts around a well-worn walking path, devoid of anyone but Cabrét, who is inviting you to ensure that she does not need to complete this journey alone.
Track 2, Winter, further emanates Cabrét’s stunning vocal and it’s uniquely full and gut-wrenching delivery that easily had the hairs on my neck standing to attention. It’s more than this, though, as the simple structure and deliberately raw nature of the melodic backings really exaggerate the talented voice that exists within Cabrét.
She shows further variety as she turns to a completely solo experience in the EP’s title track, creating a deeper moment with simply just her voice and an expertly-held guitar picking pattern. She begins to show a side of herself so intimately brilliant and personally fragile, a commendation to any songwriter to so evidently convey. The ability to procure an unimaginably touching and such a close private experience into song is that which cannot be ignored; her delivery again possesses the listener to feel with Cabrét as, with each note and each word, the story grows with monumental steps.
We touch on a truer folk musical style in Track 4, That Old Violin, which explores the release of a man from the Old Pentridge Prison. We are introduced to the delicate inclusion of a reverb-heavy guitar providing the perfect underscore through Cabrét’s folky rhythm and somewhat haunting voice, which grows in range throughout much of this track, as we are introduced for the first time to her effortless highs.
Furthering the private touch of her song subject, she explores her personal experience with a popular online dating app through Meeting With a Stranger, which propagates a common theme of broken trust, FOMO and a ongoing state of emotional confusion, which wraps itself around the tantalising narrative and solidifies itself in the song’s ending.
We’re then brought to Better Somehow, a song which returns us to the graceful music & conversational singing double-act from the beginning of the album – a light and energy which flutters around inside the listener’s chest – due to Cabrét’s innate ability to position the charge of emotion behind each song directly into you with relative ease.
To some, this EP may pose a challenge due to its confrontational song subjects coupled with the ‘releasing’ tone of Cabrét’s conveyance which transposes the thoughts and feelings so effortlessly across the listening sphere. The slow, heartfelt and haunting characteristics, however, draw a clear purpose for the above. The Wrong Side of Blue is not intended a feel-good rendition, but moreso the evidential cascade of feeling, connection and trust which is born about by only the most especially talented of songwriters.
Let this debut offering from Elise Cabrét completely mystify you and drag you away from the real; illuminating a dark place that not only exists within the realm of this songwriter, but essentially in us all – a place that perhaps you had no notion of before hearing this record. Something very special, that deserves to be listened to, with attention, and with every sense of the body.
The Wrong Side of Blue is available for pre-order via Elise’s bandcamp page.
You can catch her launching the EP live at:
Friday 11 December – LYREBIRD LOUNGE – 61 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea (Free Entry)
Wednesday 16 December – SOME VELVET MORNING – 123 Queens Pde, Clifton Hill (Free Entry)