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Review of ‘My Unwinding State’ album by Sarah Schonert

This is a stunning album on every level. It’s captivating, beautiful, touching, haunting and uplifting at times too. The whole is so much greater than the sum of the individual parts and all of those are superb.

The piano playing is outstanding and synth, bass and percussion sounds are really well crafted and often used subtly to great effect.

The arrangements are brilliant, the layering creates a great combination and contrast of different elements and each song has a great flow. The lyrics are excellent and Sarah’s voice is really captivating.

The production gives the album a really organic, natural feel with a great ambience but also with just a hint of tension at times for contrast. Each sound has it’s own space to develop and evolve and there’s almost a cinematic feel at times too.

In fact it feels almost wrong to write about the individual components of each song, I’m not sure that words can really do them justice.

6 O’Clock
Great piano to open followed by a synth riff with subtle bass. The vocals tell a great story. There’s great use of subtle background elements and an edge of tension at times.

Break Me Down
Excellent piano playing complemented by a great synth sound, a combination of spoken and sung vocals. The rhythm is sparse and adds a great element. The vocals are excellent again and there’s brilliant layering of sounds.

Crying Miles
Excellent opening piano again, the bell sound compliments the piano really well. The arrangement is excellent again, subtle background sounds and percussion ebb and flow through the song with superb vocals too.

Hit Save
Another excellent opening riff with an accordion type of sound, the vocals are excellent again. Brilliant arrangement, subtle percussive rhythm and a great flow to the song.

Trade my Smile
There’s a purposeful feel to the opening piano, excellent vocals again with subtle background sounds. There’s an edge of tension at times, subtle build and release of tension and momentum.

Laundry Day
A simple but very effective arrangement with piano and vocals to open, there’s great layering and processing of vocals too.

We Were Something
There’s a dark feel to the opening riff, the vocals are subtle and there’s a kind of oppressive feel which lifts when the piano enters. There’s a great tension in this song, it’s beautiful and haunting.

Back Down Soon Under Steady Rain
I love the use of the recorded sound in the introduction which creates a great ambience. The piano playing is excellent and I also really like the processing used on the vocals, it’s quite subtle at times and creates a great ethereal feel. The song has a great ambience with just a hint of tension at times.

An instrumental song, the opening riff has a great tension against the more swirling background sounds. The second riff has more of a softer quality. The arrangement and playing is outstanding, there’s such a great flow to the song but with just a hint of tension at times.

Maybe I
I really like the swirling sound and subtle riff to open, the vocals are more spoken. It’s a beautiful and touching song.

Lovely riff to open, the vocals are superb again with some excellent processing. I really like the change between the sung and spoken lyrics. Another excellent arrangement with some really subtle elements.

Spare You Me
Excellent piano with swirling background sounds to open, the vocals are excellent again. The song has a great flow, evolving really well.

I really like the distorted opening riff with ethereal sounding vocals that have a great drifting quality. The following synth sound is excellent, especially against the subtle swirling background sound. Superb vocals again, in fact there’s great sounds through the song, the subtle background distortion adds just a hint of tension which also builds through the song really well. There’s also superb piano playing again.

Shadows Don’t Listen
Quite an eerie bell type sound to open, the piano and subtle swirling background sound give a great contrast. Excellent processing on the vocals, the subtle background sounds add a great element. The arrangement and production is excellent too.

An opening organ type riff to open with spoken vocals, an excellent arrangement with bass and rhythm sitting low in the mix, almost sitting in the background. The riff creates a great build and release of tension. Excellent vocals again.

Stained and Smiling
Great opening synth sounds and processed vocals, excellent piano and subtle rhythm with excellent vocals again. I really like the arrangement, there’s subtle elements that drift in and out creating a really good change in feel.

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