Elisa Randazzo – Bruises & Butterflies

Elisa Randazzo – Bruises & Butterflies

The period following the loss of a loved one is one of the most arduous and challenging tasks to grow through as a human being. Many times these kinds of losses can come in the form of losing a loved one due to death or simply, due to them going the opposite direction. The loves and fruition that they conjure can also result in the misfire of good intentions and great expectations. For Elisa Randazzo, the difficult feeling of breaking a marriage is one that is all too common to the California-based singer/songwriter. Fortunately, Randazzo’s music is a powerful collection of composure and strength.

A bruise is the bitter reminder of a bad outcome: whether it be the battle wound from someone getting in your face a little too close for comfort or even, the markings of one’s fingers on somebody else’s arms. And in complete opposite fashion, a butterfly is a gentle and carefree insect that merely flies around in hopes of finding a comfortable resting spot or just a bounty to rejoice in. But the thing is, you cant bruise butterflies, if you swat them out of the air or pound them with a fist, they die; for this kind of gentle creature, life is both a reward that is fragile and short.

So for her resurgence as an artist since her divorce, Randazzo has enlisted the use of her influences and ensuing talents to fashion Bruises & Butterflies, an album that is filled with shining moments all over. Judging simply from “Colors,” Randazzo is channeling her inner Dusty Springfield, while sprinkling everything with a Christine McVie shower of country magic. She sounds composed and resoundingly strong and all the time, she is asking for help in remembering all of her lost images. While the gamut on here isn’t as sprawling as most other break-up albums, Randazzo makes sure to position her music with a good amount of ache that it almost feels as if everything has just happened.

The decision to move on is always a difficult one and Randazzo makes no qualms about it. On “Can’t Afford My Peace of Mind” she sounds solemnly retrospective and still, sufficiently at peace with her own challenges. The guitar is in support and it breathes of folk tendencies with its passing tones but still, the double-tracking and country twang is what resonates the strongest. “Winter is on my side,” she later sings and through referencing rain drops, the brimstone, the light and the waves, she is connecting on all senses with sublime precision. It may not have happened to us but Randazzo does a fantastic job of making sure we can all feel it, in one shape or form.

Even for most, it’s hard to find a redeeming amount of positive vibes on Bruises & Butterflies; it simply does not happen. “Moonshine” brings out one of the most memorable melodies on the album and all the while, the minor chords and Randazzo’s own weepy, airy voice recall a lost atmosphere, where everything seemed perfect. The album’s reflective “Good-bye” is the fitting ending for what definitely feels like a somber theme. Through the tones that she’s created, the crafting is one that requires both patience and creativity because when the music is this downtrodden, it calls for it. Luckily Randazzo packs enough skill into her music to bring out the joys to the front, most of the time.

Even if it all feels somewhat sad, it is. But that doesn’t mean that an album like Bruises & Butterflies can’t be celebrated. It sets out to accomplish modest goals and it succeeds: it’s a solid, musically reflective album and a fine one at that.

Drag City