The rules of genre in music have been thrown out for Maddisun’s new album Self Reflections. Harnessing her free spirit and taking inspiration from personal experiences, she has crafted an album that is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish. Full of reflective and immersive tracks, the album bends genres but still has the distinct soulful sounds of her voice.
To achieve this, she took a natural and off-grid approach to recording. She spent a month in an isolated recording haven in Canada, taking energy from the mountains and rivers to perfect her sound. Self Reflections offers a deeper and more developed sound that is full of Maddisun’s passion for what she does.
The album opens with ‘Mountain Air’ that sets the scene with lightly crashing cymbals and a hazy melody. There is an easiness to this track that transports you to the top of a mountain looking out at the surrounding peaks. Maddisun’s vocals are soft and controlled before lightly soaring. There is a catchy tone to this song that grabs you without you realising it. Lyrically, this song draws a lot on her travels and personal experiences.
‘Sorry’ has a very different tone to it with this beat below the surface that really gets you attention. There is something a little bluesy about this track that gets you moving to the melody. Vocally, there is something a little darker about Maddisun’s performance compared to the opening track. The power of her voice is clear on this song, but there is something understated about it.
Twinkling tones and an easy guitar lead you into ‘Crystal Clear’. This song is slower than the first two and has a sultry note to it. It flows over you like cool wisps of a mountain breeze. The laid-back tone of this track is so easy to listen to and you can just relax back into it.
‘In The End’ has a more upbeat and lively melody that you can’t help having fun with. The beat gets you moving and the instruments bubble in the background while Maddisun’s vocals captivate you. The melody is upbeat, but it is not overly energetic and gives you the slight boost that you need. The arrangement of the track highlights the vocals which are fun to listen to.
The piano line of ‘Wild Roses’ draws you into the smooth vocals. The softness of the melody complements the vocals which are so different on this track compared to the others before it. You can’t stop listening and you could very easily have this song on repeat. There are moments when the power of the vocals shines, but it works perfectly with the tenderness of the song.
‘Differences’ has an ethereal opening that grabs your attention by being different from anything else you have heard. There are these notes that zip past you in the background and create an interesting undertone to the vocals. The song has so many layers and elements that combine to create a catchy track. While some of the notes are lively, there is something more sombre lurking around them.
The next track is ‘Fiction’ which has this light and haunting opening that softly draws rests on your ears like early morning dew on the grass. Maddisun’s vocals match this setting while these guitar notes add a little something to the track. This song has a lot of depth to it from the deep beat to the undulating vocals and guitar riffs. It is a pleasure to listen to and you will be sad when it comes to an end.
The progressive opening of ‘Three Crows at the Funeral Home’ has all these interesting elements that make you continue listening. There is something vaguely country about this song mixed with bluesy soul that makes it wonderful. The increasing in pace at times works perfectly with the lyrics and vocals. The light beat gets your foot tapping to the rhythm while the guitar in the background lightly infiltrates your senses.
‘Days Off’ wastes no time getting you into the vocals which take on a contemporary-soul vibe with some rock thrown in. This is a very fun song to listen to and you can easily have it on repeat. You may also find yourself singing along. The guitar lines and background vocals work with the lead vocals to create this upbeat atmosphere that you will not be able to get enough of.
‘Reflections’ has a soft rock ballad feeling to it. At times there is a melancholic vibe but at other times the vibe swings to something more hopeful. The lyrics of this song are the most introspective of the album, but they are still relatable. There is something honest in the performance on this track which enhances the lyrics.
The album ends with ‘Contrast’ which draws you in with a strong piano line and bird song. The vocals meld with the piano in the most pleasant way. You are taken back to the mountains in this song, but the feelings are very different from the opening track. There is an understanding to the performance that is focused inward. The vocal performance is amazing on the track as you are treated to Maddisun’s range and control.
Reflective, personal and genre-bending are just the tip of the iceberg that is Self Reflections by Maddisun. The album is full of varied tracks that keep you hooked as they take you through different emotions, genres and musical arrangements. Her vocals are powerful and controlled while drawing you into the stories and contemplations of the album.