All That We Seem is not just another album by Violet Mary. For the five-piece outfit, this fourth effort is their most ambitious work to date – where no style is immune from their hands. While their familiar blues-rock remains a vital force, Violet Mary expands their palette with journeys into Radiohead-inspired alt-rock, rollicking power pop, blue-eyed funk, string-driven folk balladry, orchestral whimsy, and even tunes with a social conscience rarely heard in their previous albums.
“I think that the album was meant to be diverse (as always), but with a defining structure lyrically as well as musically,” recounts bassist and co-producer Martin Dorren. “The lyrical themes are more hybrids of social and personal reflection and how both are intertwined within each other... both chickens and both eggs. Musically, we tried to separate the ‘darker’ energy on the first disk from the ‘lighter’ on the second. It was our hope that the colors of each song then would have a certain continuity, not unlike a musical suite.”
The band returned to Belly of the Whale Studio, their creative home away from home since the band’s first record in 2009, in October 2014 with a batch of songs unlike any they’d previously released. They each had a dark and deeply personal tone to them, like a person staring into the abyss. Yet, as tracking and further writing evolved and some lighter songs were brought to the table, it became clear that the record was, in fact, a two-volume affair. According to guitarist and percussionist Scott Cranfill, ”After struggling with cutting down the songs we had written to a typical album length, we simply couldn't part with any of them. We also realized that they somewhat separated into two groups by musical feel, so it seemed like a natural fit to release a double album.”
“All That We Seem is a further exploration of our various musical and lyrical sensibilities,” notes Dorren. “It incorporates different styles within one song as well as diverse interpretations given to each song as a personality. We try to do this as more of a fun adventure, though... For instance, a song like ‘Here with You’ has an admittedly 70s vibe to it, simply because we thought it would be fun to explore that.”
Violet Mary strives for collaboration through empathy for each other’s musical roots. These roots dictate the message that is trying to come out in each member’s vision for a piece. The desire for each voice to be heard often creates something that is unlike any of the members’ original intentions. “Many bands deal with inner conflict, both individually and amongst the members,” Dorren observes, implying that Violet Mary is not immune to either. “This is not uncommon for sensitive artists that are passionate about their work. Violet Mary's sensitivity and passion is shared with one goal in mind: collaborative expression.”
All That We Seem is different from anything you have heard from Violet Mary, but breathe in deep, listen to the musical beauty come out, and savor it all – including one brilliant stop-and-start of an ending.