Elysia & pastels come together to deliver healing music for the soul on 'Raindrops & Intuition'
I’m just gonna come out and say it: I’ve found my favourite Aussie release of 2022.
'Raindrops & Intuition', the new double drop from Melbourne artists pastels and Elysia, is exactly what the Australian scene is lacking. Sensual, soul-y R&B in the vein of Cleo Sol, Raveena and even Sade, music that feels spiritual and full of warmth and purpose. A collaboration between two of the country’s most promising up-and-coming voices, producer pastels and vocalist Elysia, the tracks are a gooey, slow-jam follow up to their 2021 collaboration ‘Cherry Moon’. On both releases their creative chemistry is palpable. These tracks feel like classics, not early releases from relatively new artists.
Seconds in, and 'Raindrops' is pure tranquillity. The track features a short intro of chirping birds and forest sounds foreshadowing the serenity to come. Then we’re hit with a gorgeous earthy beat: a heavy live bassline mirroring a keys melody, woodblocks and a subtle snare. In the first verse, Elysia’s lower register is the star. Her vocals are weighty and full of presence. She reminisces on her genetics: “I got my mumma’s eyes, red, black, gold and green… I hear my daddy’s lies, still I’m a queen without him”. The chorus thickens with additional instrumentation, including a shaker and various keys layers. We get the sense that she inherited some of her parents’ traits, for better or for worse, as she croons “Ooh it’s in my DNA, it curves too deep… I can’t help it it’s the way I am, the way I want to be”.
The second track, ‘Intuition’, urges us to trust and follow ourselves, with Elysia reflecting on feeling othered as a woman of colour. The beat is pared back to start with, featuring bongos and sustained Rhodes chords; a simple equation that still carries grandeur and groove. Scattered through Elysia’s heady top line are genuinely heavenly BVs. They sound like a choir, and take on a sort of gospel effect. Together, they reflects on Elysia’s feeling of isolation and inadequacy as a young girl. Her culture came into conflict with the white world around her. She thought she was “a little too Hindi” and, in hindsight, thinks she should have kept the Bindi on her head. In her youth, she would ask God for direction, pleading for answers. Ultimately, answers come in the chorus, in which she repeats “Listen to yourself Lysha, do your own tuition/ Listen to yourself Lysha, use your intuition”. Verse 2 is all about acceptance of self. The emphatic line “no more hiding, see my colours” reflects an unabashed and long-awaited embracing of identity. The beauty of Elysia’s culture is finally front and centre: “see my henna…wearing gold to my toes”.
Photos 1 & 2 by @garconhorror
Words by Portia Brajkovic (@port______)