She does it with a voice of oak and leather; a tone that’s soft and comforting but with an unmistakably solid foundation. Her style is heavy in a way that does not suggest world weariness so much as it does wisdom and an old soul.
Her voice will take you by surprise, especially when she sets it loose at an unexpected moment and you realize the power that she has been holding back. It’s a cannon and a paintbrush at once, but it’s not her voice alone that sets her apart. As she follows a tune you’ve known for many years with another song, you find yourself wondering where you’ve heard it. You wait for the lyrics, sure that you’ll be able to place it. No, you just can’t put your finger on it. It’s not this artist, nor that. And when it’s over, she tells you that it’s her own song yet, somehow it seemed to already be a part of you.
It’s her song writing (somehow wistful, promising and familiar, and completely new) that is quietly staggering. Her lyrics, written in a stream of consciousness style that leaves wide space for personal interpretation, are nonetheless clearly autobiographical. Wunder seems to be baring her soul, both the strong parts and the weak, despite her best efforts to protect herself from our prying ears. She can’t help but bleed when she sings, and the vulnerability of her art drives into our hearts with the force of a hammer.
The most subtle aspect of Elise Wunder’s music is the thin line of darkness that runs through the center of it all. There is a lean towards the abyss, a nod to the void. Maybe it’s a curiosity about the dark alleys, the unlit streets, and the things that you can only find there when you go looking for them yourself. Whatever it is, it’s easy to overlook in her songs, comes naturally to the singer, and is the final ingredient necessary in creating truly soulful music.