Blues jazz piano piano pop piano rock review singer songwriter

Caitlin Cobb-Vialet – Endless Void Review

A short but bittersweet jazzy piano-pop album of love and self reflection

What does Caitlin Cobb-Vialet sound like?

Piano pop merged with jazzy blues.

The review of Caitlin Cobb-Vialet – Endless Void

There is a clutch of queer artists that have emerged in the piano pop scene over the last couple of years and Caitlin Cobb-Vialet is looking to add her name to that collective. Her debut album “Endless Void” is a patchwork quilt of emotional revelations and inner reflections. Caitlin feels like this world is one to fall in love with but ultimately you have to be at peace with yourself first.

Caitlin Cobb-Vialet - photo by Lindsey Ruth
Caitlin Cobb-Vialet – photo by Lindsey Ruth

Each track on “Endless Void” feels like its peeling back a layer of exposing self confidence. The opener “Not Enough” is all about not feeling good enough for anything. “Ask Me” speaks of the safety of finding your first truly comfortable love only to realise you also have to love yourself. “The Reference” screams “you don’t know me” as if coming to terms with herself. As other people come and go, Caitlin Cobb-Vialet is left repeatedly with herself and that’s left her soul searching. In “Collared Shirts” she sings “I’m not sure what person I’ve become” as the chords and drums cascade jazzily down the notes as if the world is falling apart. I’m not sure by the end of the album she’s entirely settled with herself but it feels like she moves towards some resolution.

Musically Caitlin meshes together piano-pop with jazzier blues. She uses some really interesting chord progressions that seem stolen from the jazz world and not often heard in poppier music. The other thing Caitlin does is refuse to waste time. Some tracks barely breathe like the bluesy ballad “You Don’t Try” as verse meets chorus off beat as if waiting for a bar to end is too much of a faff. I found this brevity to not always work as tracks like “Disco Ball”, “What’s It With You?” and “Ask Me” feel more emotionally charged and dramatic by getting closer to the three-minute mark than the two. They’re allowed to grow and sit in their dramatic bridges or allow an emotional beat to hit and stay before moving on.

The three tracks mentioned above are great examples of taking all the jazzy blues elements of Caitlin’s style and making sure everything lands. Other shorter tracks feel a little squished and chaotic. They are missing a little of the fluidity that you need in order to transition so quickly between things. One short track that totally works though is closer “Float”. It gives the intro, main event and outro enough space and sway to take you on a journey emotionally and melodically.

“Endless Void” is full of unconventional moves, time twists and step changes. Caitlin Cobb-Vialet reminds me of fellow artist Sarah Walk but in more of a flurry rush to get somewhere. For some listeners, this focus on brevity and constant change will really hit home. For others, it will be a slight barrier to feel really connected to the music early on. It has taken me a couple of months to really feel settled with the album as I’m in the latter camp rather than the former but talent is clearly on show regardless. Just give the album time to marinade and it’ll repay you back later on.

Recommended track: Ask Me

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Caitlin Cobb-Vialet - Endless Void

7

7.0/10

2 comments

  1. Simon, I produced this album and I really enjoyed your review. Thank you for taking the time to listen . I consider it some of my personal best work as a producer and if you’re curious, it was a conscious choice to leave her arrangements intact even when short – in some cases I tried to to unravel them a bit but found them perfect just as they were. Disco Ball, What’s It With You, and Ask me were the three songs we actually pulled apart and did the thing you mentioned, and I didn’t want to try to “single-ize” all the songs, because I wanted them to stick out. So , mission accomplished -??– haha. Not Enough, and Useless, to me are fascinating little Brian Wilson-esque mini-compositions that I find refreshingly creative, and in the case fo say You Don’t Try, it’s twists and turns to me, are what modernize it, take it out of traditional arrangement into something just slightly unconventional, while still keeping that kinda timeless core, that sorta “Carole king” thing, but I didn’t want it to be “retro”. She’s a challenging songwriter in these ways, but your close listening is exactly who we made this record for. I hope you’ll stick around for the next one)
    Jim

    1. Hi Jim! Thanks for this additional info. Definitely, mission accomplished and I’ll be absolutely sticking around for the next one. Congrats to all involved.

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