CD, A Different Drum, 2006
Monica Schroeder’s music isn’t really what you’d expect to find on a label like A Different Drum. Where as a large majority of the labels acts fit firmly into the genres of Synthpop, New Wave and Electropop. Monica Schroeder’s music seems to take more influence from acoustic Folk and down-tempo Pop, often compared to the likes of Sarah McLachlan. Her third executive release “So Far” offers up a fresh new batch of captivating heart felt ballads following themes of love, loss, and rejuvenation.
Subtly easing us into the album is the potential single “City Lights”. Perhaps one of the strongest tracks on the album, “City Lights” is a perfect example of the high level of Monica Schroeder’s song writing abilities and as an introductory track, it creates the perfect setting for the albums overall theme. Although a lot of the tracks on the album are of a rather sombre nature and often have a dark undercurrent to them, Monica seems to have found a rather unique way of masking the often melancholic lyrical content with the way her music is performed. It’s almost as if she ‘intends’ on misguiding the listener as the album progresses. The track “Return To The Scene” is a fine example of this; although musically one of the more roseate tracks on the album, lyrically this track suggests feelings of rejection and despair and as with a lot of the albums content, leaves you wondering what you should make of it, from an emotional stand point at least. Upon listening to the album more carefully, I noticed that this seemed to be a recurring theme throughout and this in turn gave it a lot more contrast and depth.
As a musician and especially as a song writer, Monica Schroeder’s talent is undeniably strong and “So Far” does show an obvious progression in her work from her previous albums. Everything from the soft guitar and airy piano to the beautiful lyrics and masterful production skills of Joey Belville appears to be of a very high standard. The album could have possibly done with a fair bit more electronic work and could definitely have done with more than just nine tracks but that aside, it is on the whole an immensely interesting and thoughtful addition to any music lover’s collection.
— Paul Marcham