Sarah Schonert’s recent release is a rare album that effectively combines a number of relaxing and ambient tracks with some more experimental moments.
Particularly during the first half of “My Unwinding State,” Schonert’s vocals bear a certain resemblance to those of Kate Bush. She is not afraid to employ unexpected and occasionally dissonant tones, as you can hear on tracks like “Break me Down” or even more so on “Hit Save.” The latter also displays Schonert’s blending of spoken and sung lyrics, producing a striking contrast.
On the other hand, she is equally capable of producing ballads with more of a traditional melodic structure, but still making them sound original, such as “Trade my Smile.”
Mellow piano parts feature prominently throughout the album. These are interspersed with electronic instruments, which are given greater space on some of the tracks with an experimental flavour like “Shadows Don’t Listen,” adding an extra layer to the piano and vocal combination.
The meditative and even dreamy tone of the album strengthens as it progresses, particularly from the track “Back Down Soon Under Steady Rain” onwards. The choruses seem to merge with the verses on this one as the piano provides a slow accompaniment.
She follows this up with “Experienne,” a calm, unobtrusive instrumental piece that ends with a slight sense of unease. If there’s one downside to the second half of the album, it’s that it loses a little bit of the punchy creativity of the opening tracks, although those looking for a more laid back feel may beg to differ.
“My Unwinding State” is Schonert’s fourth solo album. As well as playing all instruments that feature, Schonert produced the record in her own studio. Her readiness to experiment, particularly by varying her vocal technique and with the use of layered vocals makes it a good listen, especially during the first several tracks. If you’re looking for an experimental/indie album with an ambient twist, this one’s for you.