It’s with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy that the new VISSIA album, With Pleasure, washes over the listener. A mixture of retro soul instrumentation, modern pop melodies, and a flirtatious attitude, VISSIA proves with this release that she is a jack of all trades and lays the foundations of a rich and lustrous career as your new favorite DIY pop star.
For fans of Halsey, Haim, and Hayley Kiyoko comes VISSIA’s second offering. It’s a glorious mish-mash of genres that finds VISSIA putting pen to paper at every possible opportunity and turning passing moments into gold in song. There’s a sense of innocence that pervades the album, as if she is looking at the world wide-eyed and ready for whatever experience life throws at her next.
This is exceptionally effective in most recent single, “The Cliffs,” a laid-back platonic love song simply made for road trips. In it, she proclaims, “After the freefall, it won’t be long / You’ll find your find like you’ve always done / Lean into the arms of gravity when you touch the ground,” in a plea for her friend to live in the moment, something VISSIA herself clearly revels in. The melody and instrumentation are sophisticated, but simple enough to still be catchy as hell; this is the track which could truly propel her into the big time.
In some places, however, VISSIA’s innocence and wide-eyed wonder leave certain tracks feeling a little underdeveloped. The quasi-rock sound of “Take It Apart” falls a little flat in a chorus that should feel massive. The jumping around of genres, whilst it keeps the listener on their toes, does get a little exhausting by the end of the listen, and, to some extent, prevents the album from feeling like a coherent whole piece.
If the cracks begin to show towards the middle of the album’s runtime, the final track, “About Moving On” feels like the understated triumph of the album. A cool five and a half minutes runtime, an elongated introduction of quiet synths, and emotive lyrics throughout, “About Moving On” is VISSIA’s artistic exploration of grief in the face of a lost relationship. It’s an excruciating slow burn that ends the album on a slight downer, but it’s one of the best-crafted songs on the album.
With Pleasure is an album that revels in honesty and confidence. VISSIA is the kind of artist for whom holding back simply isn’t an option, who attacks every song with the full force of a poet in love with every dapple of sunlight in her room, and every vibration of her guitar strings.