“How To Swim – EP” | The Violet Hum

Artwork by Elza Lisovska | @elart_s 

Up and coming songwriter and producer The Violet Hum aka Matt Arthur, is a indie-alternative artist that has been creating music for over 15 years. He has been part of music acts such as The Coo and The Arthur Brothers, but in 2020 just when COVID-19 began to shut down the world, Violet Hum found himself having enough time to create his own music. He describes his music as a call-back of Radiohead, Neil Young, and Kate Bush. His EP How To Swim is out now and it is simply a strong, beautiful collection of songs of raw, acoustic music.

Ghost Ship

The EP opens with a calm, but heavy bass driven acoustic track. The title of the song is an accurate description; a haunting tale that sailors would talk about in their journeys through the sea. The allusions of a ship seeking a harbor, where there is none could be a reference to a past love.

Vocal harmonies are heard throughout, giving the song layers of emotion that compliment the main vocal track. The acoustic guitars and the balance of the rough bass compliment each other so well, once again, giving the “ghost” concept a much bigger punch. A beautiful opening track.

The Stranger

Artwork by Elza Lisovska | @elart_s 

The production for the second track, Stranger, is immaculate. Hints of The Rolling Stones are heard with the guitars, getting stronger toward the last chorus[es]. Violet Hum’s growls get more fierce and lower, trying to say that the story of Stranger is not too far off from real experience.

Towards the end of the track, Violet’s growls are the physical proof of his emotions, longing for the past where a presumably former lover met him. The dark undertones of this track are unfiltered as it can be.

Babylon

There are some sprinkles of Rolling Stones (once again, and I’m loving it) in those electric guitars that surround Babylon, the EPs third track. Violet’s vocals are clear, and the poetic story-telling makes it a standout track. Violet Hum is singing to someone, or about someone; But could he be singing abut himself as well?

The towering silence at the end makes this song more haunting; a haunting whoosh that leaves the listener wondering, what was the process in making such a moody track that sonically captures emotional grievance?

Different Man

Different Man has a cascade of pianos and rain-sticks for its instrumentation. A hopeful-soft ballad with hints of trip-hop production that reminds me of Jack Antonoff’s production in he past 3 years in albums such as Lana Del Rey’s 2019 LP Norman Fucking Rockwell. Meanwhile, the chord progression is one of my favorites, scaling up and down, as Violet Hum wants to live in the fantasy of the man he used to be… don’t wake him up.

In the chorus, the heavy guitars drive the melody of this track that can shape someone’s “coming of age” story. Violet harmonizes with low, dry aahha’s, giving the track just a little flair of psychedelic rock ala The Eagles, or even Lorde’s latest LP [also an Antonoff production], Solar Power.

The fade out of this track… 10/10.

Rainbow Song

Artwork by Elza Lisovska | @elart_s 

On the last track, Rainbow Song gives us a mixture of Elton John with the slow-thumping chorus, and The Beatles with the vocal delivery and guitar strings in the pre-chorus. and Hum does this with easy, where outside influences are only taken by not, and not copied and pasted.

Rainbow Song is a “the end of the journey” song; Hum is hopeful that he has been able to wake himself , and realize that he is no longer “lost at sea”; a greatly well-chosen closer. The slow fade-out of the guitar and cymbals makes Rainbow a greatly well-chosen closer

In all, How To Swim is a fantastic introduction to a new solo artist. The production quality of the project blew me away, and the vocal delivery is real and original. And his live acoustic renditions of the tracks in his YouTube channel are even more powerful. The EP has a cohesive theme in lyricism and instruments, I personally would love to see this “world-building” be more fleshed out in either another EP, or a full-length LP before Violet Hum moves into uncharted territory in song-making. The EP did a great job in self-expression as an artist, and I definitely cannot wait to see what comes next from the mind of Violet Hum.

Favorites: Ghost Ship, Different Man, Babylon

Stream the EP through the Linktree here: https://linktr.ee/theviolethum

What do you think of this project? Leave a comment below!

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