You know that moment when you click on an album to stream it from an artist you’ve never heard before and what comes out of the speakers just connects. From the first note of Schwartz Goes to Heaven, I knew I had found a new gem in the recording project Winded. It’s the project of Tallahassee based artist Catherine Vianale. The album contains seven pop length tracks, each a punctuation of clarity, a moment of serendipity, a sonic experience evoking an aura of honesty. Personal and raw, these dreampop tracks aren’t just sugar-coated compositions. They feel highly personal and mature.
The album begins with “Intro/Schwartz Goes to Heaven”. It is dreamy, with guitar tones straight out of a Daysleepers album but not thick or whirling. There is a straightforwardness to it all, with simple percussion and a fantastic pop structure. The second you hear Vianale’s vocals, you know you’ve found someone who’s art is just going to draw you in and mesmerize you. Her music is a spell, and she lures the listener in from the first note. The guitars eventually drench their reverb in fuzzed out tones and explode while Vianale’s vocals float along in a hypnotic melody. “Teething” rings into the speaker with dreamy guitar and then those amazing vocals. “Teething” is a very simple track but that’s what makes it that much more enticing.
“I Know It’s Thin” has a brilliant cadence, leading the listener along Vianale’s world. Guitars explode periodically and then go almost silent. The track is brief but plays with some great dynamics throughout. “I Know It’s Thin” is a sort of empowerment anthem, proclaiming the need for distance from a caller who yells in her face and, perhaps, the need for human interaction nonetheless. “Soap Dust” begins with percussion that gives way to a pensive guitar line. “Soap Dust” reminds me of some Club 8 or Yumi Zouma moments. This is dreampop greatness. The fuzzed-out guitars also make another appearance and I have to say that I love the unforgiving nature of the tone chosen for these guitar moments on the album. The distorted tones are totally raw and are a great reflection of the lyrical content.
“No Honey” is an instrumental guitar piece that is subtle and a beautiful interlude in the middle of the album. It is followed by what I find to be my favorite track on the album “See Thru Girl”. The vocal melody here is an earworm and the lyrical content incredibly personal. It’s a powerful piece which is deceptively simple. “See Thru Girl” is a triumphant track on an incredible album. The finale to Schwartz Goes to Heaven is “Swallowing Hair” which utilizes absurd metaphor to great effect. Those fuzzed out guitars create beds of stippled tones for Vianale’s vocals to float over as the album moves towards its finish.
Well, Vianale has proven to be a captivating artist with her debut LP Schwartz Goes to Heaven. Simple yet elegant dreampop populates Schwartz Goes to Heaven with a deep, personal rawness as the foil. From start to finish, the album is captivating and over far too quickly, leaving the listener wanting more. If you haven’t encountered Winded yet, I highly recommend you visit her Bandcamp and grab a copy of Schwartz Goes to Heaven on limited cassette or on digital formats. You won’t be disappointed.