EP Review: Aleesha Dibbs – Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost is the debut EP from Australian multi-instrumentalist Aleesha Dibbs. It's a challenging and fascinating listen that turns the "process of transformation and self-actualisation" into detailed sound paintings with deeply moving lyrics.

On album opener Battalion march-like drum patterns and abrasive distorted synth textures inducing unrest and anxiety in the listener are contrasted against the confident cool of the smooth and detached vocal delivery that grows more confident and even borderline aggressive closer to the end of the song. The dizzying harmonic change in the hook further adds to the effect – no matter what changes you have to face, you just keep marching on, leading your lonely battalion through uncertainty.

Aleesha Dibbs
This track explores a metaphor about having to curate an army of 1 in the face of a huge undertaking. It was the first track I wrote and recorded for what I wasn't sure at the time would evolve into a solo project and eventually, 'Paradise Lost' as an EP.
Distance with its ghost-like synths and cold pad timbres could feel like a cold shower after a less challenging track than Battalion. However, in the album context it appears as weirdly comforting. The track doesn't have a ton of sonic layers, but all of them are constructed with such mastery that it feels like sound painting. You can definitely hear the howling of wind and the inevitable breath of storm and footsteps of winter that accompanied the track's writing in its lonely and unwelcoming textures.

Aleesha Dibbs
This track is about unpacking the Hallmark narrative that 'Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder,' when in juxtaposition, in certain situations the reality is the complete opposite. I wrote it looking out over Pittwater in a little shack I was living in at Palm Beach in Sydney, Australia as a huge storm rolled over in the depths of winter.
Winter thickens and ghosts grow even scarier on Conjured You Up. The track's lyrics deal with fake ideas and narratives that can happen in relationships. So the phantoms we are facing on Conjured You Up are living in narrator's head. Nothing is what it seems. The guitars are washed out, becoming ambient soundscapes, and claps are so heavily delayed that they feel almost texture-like.

Aleesha Dibbs
'Conjured You Up' is about creating a false narrative of someone or something prior to that idea actually being realised. In the context of this track this meant shattered expectations but also a kind of remorse for creating a false narrative in the first place - which I think is really common in the world of online dating culture.

Thematically I was definitely exploring how it's so easy to subconsciously curate these fake worlds and the vulnerability and at times expectation let downs that come along with that.

That being said, I'm now happily in a relationship! And I think when it works it works.
Album closer Comin For Me Now is equally minimalistic and sonically dense at the same time. Built around vocals drenched in delay and viscous piano, it develops very slowly, like a magic forest thickening around you as you advance into its depths. And then the track ends quite abruptly, leaving you puzzled and enchanted.

Aleesha Dibbs
The song is about estrangement - stepping away from people in your life that it's intensely difficult to step away from, but knowing it's a necessary process - the dichotomy between the good and bad feelings that comes along with that - really that's what the entire EP is about.
The EP is short but deep, dense and nuanced both sonically and emotionally, welcoming repeated listens, each discovering new meanings and details in Aleesha Dibb's skillfully woven sonic worlds.