Sarah Schonert releases new album Songs About Sounds amongst angelic, synth-driven layers, eclectic vocals and timeless piano.
Indie pop/experimental singer-songwriter Sarah Schonert is always willing to push boundaries. New album Songs About Sounds is no exception as she calls on a wide range of ideas and intriguing synth work to create bold and captivating atmospheres that are tied together with piano-based rhythms and cleverly layered vocals.
We get our first taste of Schonert’s synth-driven sound with opening track All This Noise as tailored, quickly-paced drums feed-in against keyboards before slowing down to welcome in the heavily manipulated vocals. The vocals play between clear and muffled throughout, making for a nice contrast that works well. The avant-garde feel is heightened by some almost 8bit sound samples and nice melodies that push the track forward. Chamade then switches to more realistic drums against a settled sound, as synths gradually take control once more. There’s a definite Kate Bush vibe about this track as it moves on, becoming more psychedelic and serene as it continues. Schonert’s vocals come into their own on this track, finding rhythms others would miss and genuinely becoming a part of the music.
What Schonert manages to do well throughout is create soundscapes of dreamy synths and heightened atmospheres with ease. This is most apparent in tracks like Not Swearing where piano takes the lead to provide the strong base but is surrounded by interesting ideas, soaring synths and angelic sounds that all come together as one. The trick is repeated in Waffles Over Pancakes, once again relying on piano as the lynchpin, but this time using a slower pace that takes it’s time to build the intriguing soundscapes that follow.
As we get nearer the end of the record Schonert throws in even more ideas and Avante-Garde leanings, making for an interesting finish to the record. Where Were You uses eclectic drum beats and less reliance on vocals, allowing the music to become the centrepiece, whereas album-closer Ain’t No Weight But Your Own hails back to the heavily distorted vocals at the start of the record against a haunting atmosphere that settles into its groove through the help of gentle bells and gradually appearing drums. This helps tie everything together for a strong finish.
Songs About Sounds is a triumph at bringing music together to create a dreamy soundscape of ideas, melodies and structures. Sarah Schonert’s vocals are constantly manipulated to allow the characterisation of each track, but the way she also uses her voice to carry the listener off into different directions creates another layer of intrigue. Songs About Sounds in a constantly evolving record which will bring something different with every listen.