Tha Afterparty Radio Review: ‘Songs About Sounds’ by Sarah Schonert
Written by Tamara M. on 16 February 2020
I’m not going to lie – “Songs About Sounds” was definitely different and interesting, which can be taken in a variety of ways. I would suggest listening for yourself and develop your own meaning around that sentiment. But, first, let me backtrack. One thing about Sarah Schonert is she definitely has a unique sound and an authentic quality about her that’s hard pressed to come by in a world full of cookie-cutter artists. However, with this type of indie/pop/synth style, it’s definitely not for everyone. For me, this one was a little hard to get into based off the first song, but as I kept listening it grew on me and had some pleasant high notes along the way.
“Songs About Sounds” starts off with “All this Noise,” which was actually quite fitting. It was jarring and loud and noisy as it was likely intended to be. It’s the perfect song to kick off this album that lives up to its genre as experimental. The singing was somewhat lilting yet energetic.
“The Sound of Falling Down” was one of my favorite tracks with its hybrid talking-singing that was a little softer and mellower than some of the other tracks. There was a sense of calmness around it that brings you down from some of the more fevered tracks.
“Ain’t No Weight But Your Own” sounds like a cross between a synthesizer and angelic tones, which helps Sarah to constantly push the envelope. Expanding on this, Sarah said, “’Ain’t No Weight But Your Own’ is a departure from using my regular software vocoding, creating the effect completely with hardware.’”
While listening to the album straight through wasn’t my approach and I jumped from song to song, Sarah and I both agree that “Hold You Up” was our favorite. It has a more straightforward approach that’s easier to get into and relate to, which shows her range. Sarah called this her favorite track since “it was ridiculously fun to play and sing.” If you’re looking for a cute moment, Sarah’s son, Auron, lent his voice to the end of “Waffles Over Pancakes.”
A creative to the core, “Sarah is also an engineer, designer, and painter, often infusing pieces of her career and hobbies into her music and how she presents it to the world.”
Per her bio, “Sarah’s work is self-produced, synth-driven, angelic and avant-garde with its Kate Bush/Tori Amos leanings. A strong, original female voice.” Sarah’s style is quite gutsy from her singing to the lyrics and even to the instrumentation. With this album, for example, listeners who are familiar with Sarah get her usual piano-forward work, along with “some hidden guitar and vintage synths.”
Constantly working on perfecting her sound and expanding her creative reach, Sarah said, “I felt like I was really finding my voice with my previous LP (Penguin Party), and since then I’ve released an EP and a holiday album that have been progressing me forward with my instruments and gear.”
While I might not be the target audience for this album or sound, you can hear the love and passion seeping through every track as Sarah weaves together a soundtrack that’s uniquely her. “This album truly was quite a joy to create,” Sarah said.