Violet Skies – If I Saw You Again

Violet Skies - If I Saw You Again

Having written for the likes of Diana Ross and Mabel, Violet’s own debut album gathers up her memories of love, loss, and a self-confessed “morbid fascination with death” against barely-there production.

“There’s still snow in California / and Paris is on fire,” rings out the haunting vocal on “Settle”, pinpointing the moment in April 2019 when the flames of Notre Dame and escalating climate crisis dominated headline news. The song’s existential musings (and its “warning not to settle for the state of how things are” ) remain just as relevant more than three years on, as they form the opening track on If I Saw You Again. It’s followed by “The Internet”, a far more inward-looking tale of yearning that delivers equally dreamy vocals. Violet’s deliberate production choices come quickly into focus here, as the song flirts with a beat drop that never quite arrives. Indeed, there is a level of restraint held throughout the record, intended to give the subject matter “space to breathe”. Violet’s storytelling does thrive in such a sparse environment, though there are times (particularly later, on the ethereal “Hey God It’s Me) when the lack of a truly gut-punching, soul-leaving-the-body, soaring crescendo can feel a little frustrating.

The album’s high points are found in the driving pop beat of “When Are We Gonna Do This” and the charming memories of Violet’s late grandmother on “Over The Valley”. “Love You Better (Go)” is another clear standout: a stirring ballad that begrudgingly accepts the end of a relationship while getting closest to the all-out production that other tracks hold back from. “Never Be Cool”, meanwhile, is something of an anomaly as it trades stories of Violet’s loved ones for a Booksmart-esque wave to her teenage years. The record’s minimalism means that each of these topics are pushed to the very forefront, making for an impressively barefaced debut that celebrates Violet’s enchanting voice above all else.