SCHONWALD - Amplified Nature

Schonwald - Amplified Nature

10 songs
32:15 minutes
***** **
Pocket Heaven


Italian duo Schonwald are regular guest on Luxembourg’s live stages, so it somehow made sense that their vinyl LP Amplified Nature (don’t worry, it comes with a complimentary CD) was released on Pocket Heaven, a local label specialised in Italian independent music. With hardly any information available, and the tiny bits I found was in Italian, it’s maybe better to concentrate on the music.

Schonwald’s sound is strongly attached to the early Eighties, a time when more and more people became weary of the punk hype and decided to venture forth into new territories. Although the two band members play bass and guitar, you get programmed beats and synthesizers, which make for a cooler atmosphere, like taking the genial simplicity of the Velvet Underground to give it a makeover with New York no wave sounds from Suicide and early Sonic Youth and a little touch of shoegaze alternative rock la The Jesus And Mary Chain.

Schonwald have an ear for catchy pop hooks, and master the art of combining darkly emotional structures with a diametrically opposed clinical coldness of early synthesizer models. Not needing to point out any highlights, because the level stays constantly elevated, I still think that nine songs plus a remix by local electronic artist Airstrip1 of the already featured Slow Milk is not enough to fill a regular longplayer.

Amplified Nature is still a successful retro album that may irritate only those in search of something new. If you like stylishly executed new wave indie rock, this record could give you many happy half hours. Vinyl collectors will be glad that they get their music again they way they think it’s supposed to come, whereas the digital faction gets consoled with the accompanying CD.

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