Based in Brooklyn, Israeli songwriter Neta Tia Elias records music under the moniker TESHA. After the success of her debut release Dreams Vol. 1 back in April 2018, last month saw the release of Growing Pain II, a collection of songs that draws both individual experience and the otherworldly aspects of Bjork, Fever Ray and Kate Bush to create a sound that is ethereal yet rooted in personal suffering.
Nowhere is this made more clear than on opening track, ‘Funeral’, a song directly inspired by the death of Elias’s parents. Specifically, the focus is placed on her mother’s funeral, conjuring the disconcerting disembodiment of such an occasion, where the gravity of the situation manifests as eerie and unreal.
I won’t shed a tear for you
Even if you wanted me to
Shed your worries, come dear
Promises you feel to keep in
‘I Can’t Sleep’ is the slow aftermath, a time alone after the fact where ghosts seep into the silence of the room and the pain begins to reconfigure identity to allow for its presence. The off-kilter tones of ‘Wonder’ swirl and stir into their own dream logic, the vocals possessing an unsettling innocence that brings to mind Nicole Dollanganger. “He went to London, out of town,” Elias sings in her disarming tone. “Never came back, they said that she drowned.” Such a juxtaposition is indicative of the TESHA aesthetic, where violence lurks beneath the supernal textures.
‘See So Good’ finds Elias smoky and sinister, a Cold Specks-esque blend of hymnal folk and gauzy ambience that emerges with a creeping immersiveness and seems to preach a relinquishment of past trauma, paving the way for ‘Soft And Smooth But Not Silent’. The release’s closing track, the song might maintain an uncanny sensibility but it is altogether lighter, as through rising through or above the troubles detailed previous, and turning once more toward the possibility of living and growing.
Growing Pains II is out now and you can listen via Spotify.