Reviews: Orbit

“Close your eyes and listen to the invisible beauty found in Monica Schroeder’s voice. It resonates through the pop/folk melodies and elevates the poetic lyrics of each song to a place where the listener can’t help but make a personal connection. While there are shades of Sarah McLachlan’s “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” in her piano work, Schroeder’s sound is fresh, fiery and impossible to forget. I have yet to find a Monica Schroeder song I don’t like.”

— Siren Song Magazine

“If I was only allowed one thing to say about this CD it would be, “Buy It!” Monica Schroeder’s ‘Orbit’ is one of the best CDs I have had the pleasure to hear in a long time. Unless she is Indie by choice, which is probably the best bet these days, she is just one more piece of evidence that major label recording has gone down the toilet.

She is the perfect marriage of Sarah McLachlan and Jann Arden, two more Canadians who help to remind me that some of the best Independent Female Music continues to evolve from Canada. Monica moves with grace and ease from a slow sad ballad to a cheerful song in the likeness of a Spiritual. ‘I’m Ready’ shows her ability to pick up the pace and continue to enrapture the listener around her wall of sound. She sings songs of love loss, sorrow, and joy with the same understanding of the emotion. She is lacking in nothing! If you are a fan of the best Indie music has to offer and you do not own this album, your collection is incomplete.”

— Dennis Halsey,

“The second full-length release from Winnipeg chanteuse Monica Schroeder is rich with the lyrical poetry and clarion vocal restrains that won numerous accolades for her debut release, ‘The Expectation of Home’. Schroeder’s ability to effortlessly liaison between indelible pop songs like the powerful ‘Everyday’ to fragile acoustic numbers like ‘Tonight’ help poise her as one of the most important female voices on the prairies. The achingly personal ‘Warmth’ proves Schroeder’s duality in tone as the track appears twice on Orbit; once as an upbeat pop number with electronic drums, and again as a stripped down hidden track featuring Schroeder’s vocals easing over a single acoustic guitar. Subversive to the nature of the stereotypical “girl with a guitar”, Schroeder’s equally whimsical and down-to-earth compositions capture a moment vividly.”

— Uptown Magazine, May 1, 2003, ‘A’

“This could be a three word review, which would be: What a voice. Monica Schroeder’s got one of those warm, rich voices that make you stop doing whatever you’re doing and pay attention to the physical act of the voice wrapping around your ears — a reminder that the act of listening at its best is an active sensual experience, not a passive thing that simply happens to you.

Unsurprisingly, it turns out Schroeder’s Canadian — I say “unsurprisingly” because our northern neighbor has a nice recent history of producing female singers with truly arresting, tactile voices: Sarah McLachlan, Margo Timmons, Jane Siberry, kd lang, Sarah Harmer. Schroeder’s voice is right up there with them — you want to listen to it more than you than you already are.

Orbit provides a pack of songs, written by Schroeder, that do a pretty good job of giving her voice an appropriate setting. It’s your basic Lilth genre material, situated somewhere between McLachlan and Natalie Merchant on the spectrum, thematically more like McLachlan’s (in that they’re concerned with love, and the melancholy aspects therin) but sonically more like Merchant’s, fueled by Schroeder’s velvety sad vocals. But Schroeder also carves out some of her own songwriting space as well — album showpiece “Poison” has a languid jazz vibe, with nervy, spacy guitars flitting around vocals which, depending on how you’re feeling at the moment, are either an invitation to begin something, or to end it. “I’m Ready (To Be Loved By You),” is the closest the album comes to a rock song, something for cute patchouli-scented girls in peasant dresses to wave candles to at the concert. I like it. And of course, there are enough slow piano-laden moments to make any one happy.

Honestly, I can’t think of anyone who enjoys contemporary Lilith rock who won’t be completely and totally satisfied with Orbit. It’s all there, vibe, song and voice. But especially voice. This is Schroeder’s second album; I’m going back to buy the first real soon, just to get more of the singing. That’s saying something.”

–, May 5, 2003

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