Sarah Schonert’s “Unwinding State” Album Is Unwound

Some artists just say too much. Whether it’s John Mayer blabbing on about his sex life in grotesque detail, or drawn out petty rapper beef, some musicians just don’t know when to stop talking and start playing.

This same pitfall haunts Sarah Schonert’s new album My Unwinding State. A talented instrumentalist who sometimes sings over the best bits of music, the lush soundscapes that describe certain feelings and convey moods better than any lyrics ever could get crowded on her new LP.

Describing her sound as “eclectic-electronic,” the Illinois-based songstress combines classical training on the piano with an interest in electronic production elements. While some of these effects grow tired, specifically the stock plug-ins used on background spoken-word vocals, the overall usage pairs well with the traditional elements. Joy can be found focusing on pieces of the production that contrast with simplicities.

At times Sarah’s vocal timbre sounds similar to a female Bowie, but it often grows tiring when trying to focus in on the music, which is seemingly declared background movement on several word laden tracks. The lyrical content is nothing to bring smiles about either. My Unwinding State is about as depressing as it sounds. With the naxiety of a nasally prep-school pre-teen and the morbid outlook of a suburban housewife, several songs like “6 O’clock” and “Laundry Day” could give listeners a case of the Mondays regardless of what day of the week it is.

Some tracks, however, like “Trade My Smile” have a brighter outward projection. With catchy melodies and a light four-on-the-floor drum pattern, it would make great fodder for remixes within the electronic and EDM scenes.

In total the album is an interesting sound, but suffers from a lack of emotional dynamics. The malaise starts to drag its heels about half way through the album as the lyrics grow monotonous. Bright spots include the piano playing and other instrumentation, which is lush on tracks like “Experience.”

You can check out the album on Bandcamp to make your own assessment.

Eric Cullen is a multimedia artist and musician, known as Cully on the stage and in the hearts of many. When you're done reading his wonderful musings on music, art, and culture you can check out his music on Soundcloud under the moniker Coolest Cully.

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