Late Riser | Reviews


Rudie Humphrey — AMERICANA UK, June 30 2013

TIME TO TRY ANOTHER FLAVOUR: Are you constantly looking for space on your ipod, what can I bump to put the latest flavour of the month on, “what’s got to go” you mumble as you force on the new best band ever. How anybody ever goes on Desert Island discs and picks 8 nuggets I’ll never know. This album is one of those, ‘has to be on the pod’ albums. I doubt it’ll ever come off, it’s made me late for work as I just need to hear the end, it’s made me miss my deadlines for copy submissions (sorry Mark) as I just haven’t wanted to listen to anything else, I just love it.

Its North American as opposed to ‘Americana’; don’t let that put you off, it’s certainly not heavy on the country influence, again stay with me on this one. From its plinky music box opening to the lacy vocal interplay, choral, even dawn chorus like ‘Liftoff Canon’ it is a stunning record, honestly. Step outside your normal, like a great man once said “that music has lost its taste so try another flavour”, this is exactly that.

It’s a root beer record, neither a bottle of beer nor a bottle of roots, but somehow so right, and just as delicious. It’s folk pop perfection, it has some ‘Rabbit Fur Coat’ Jenny Lewis, or Cardigans, even some ‘Linger’-esque Cranberries at times, such as ‘Jack of Diamonds’ only in a way that a glass not properly washed might taste of the last person’s drink.

The quirky musicality is not distracting, it is clever, life affirming, and the sexy, breathy, occasionally French sung ‘Marguerite’ is just the right side of odd. An art-house feel, without pretentions, an intelligent thoughtful record from some of Dan Mangans band. It revels in being continentally American without being Americana. Leah Abramson is painfully pretty voiced, ‘Fight or Flight’ with its “oh short tether” has pain in every sinew, reinforcing that this is a musical art, constructed to flow and it is far from just a collection of songs. Whirly wobbly organ of ‘Drowning Man’ is her Catlin Rose, and is her momentary brush with country. “Tell her if you want to – I’ll be in be in the bedroom trying on some heels” is a sharp awakening; 2 tracks later on ‘Lose-Lose’, a reminder to don’t be fooled by the tweety vocal, she can break hearts too, and to a Ronnettes drum beat, it’s a harsh stab on relationship duplicity.

‘Skull & Crossbones’ is no sea shanty, but is probably my album favourite, at least in this second; a wonderful canter with Leah what could be better, devoid of “Jim-lads” and phoney Cornish accents it’s uplifting, perky and a cleansing jaunt of a song. Then the album ends, which always jolts me back to the room, to what I should be doing, but the final morsel ‘Red River Valley’ is another remarkable tune, from a remarkable album. The whole record is astonishing vocally, enriching musically and a very charming record.

The Province, May 14, Stuart Derdeyn

THE ABRAMSON SINGERS: Late Riser (Copperspine Records)
Liftoff Canon is certainly one of the most intriguing singles of the year. Working nothing but vocal loops of a chorus and her own multi-tracked takes, Leah Abramson sounds like an Appalachian angel. It sets the tone for the rest of this utterly engaging album which ranges from Sarah Harmer-esque rootsy testimonials to the nearly experimental folk of the fragile Fight or Flight or one of the best haunted country rock songs of the year: Lose-Lose.

Andrea Warner,, May 2013

Vancouver’s the Abramson Singers are a throwback to a different time, like a tucked-away pocket of the late ’60s or ’70s at the height of the singer-songwriter popularity. But that’s not to say the band sounds dated. In these days of AutoTune, the freshness of their harmonies is a welcome slap in the face. It’s there in the title: this is a band that values vocals and the sound and textures of those vocals above everything else. “Jack of Diamonds,” from the band’s upcoming second record, Late Riser, showcases Leah Abramson’s voice at its best, refined but strong, with lyrics that have a pervasive ache and honesty that recalls classic Joni Mitchell.

Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail, May 4, 2013

On her pleasant forthcoming album Late Riser, Vancouver’s altfolk songstress Leah Abramson sings fluently and timelessly. She suggests the way to love a drowning man is to not ever speak of the boat’s slow leak. And though there is something familiar about the softly shuffling Déjà vu, you have not heard it before.

Carla Gillis, Now Magazine, May 2013

Leah Abramson’s voice sails in on a gentle wind. It’s melancholy but bright, sad but sweet, and so distinct that every new release feels cozily familiar. The Vancouver singer/songwriter isn’t afraid to go full-on choral, layering harmonies and counterpoint to blissful levels while the music behind her stays sparse. The astonishingly inventive Take A Camera on her first album exemplifies this.

On her second record – partly conceived during an indie band residency at the Banff Centre – a cappella Liftoff Canon and moody Marguerite come closest to that level of vocal playfulness. (Meanwhile, the closer, Red River Valley, has a 20-plus-person choir.) Voices, often Abramson’s own, stack atop one another, though singing assistance comes via various band members and friends, including Be Good Tanyas’ Samantha Parton.

Also on offer: top-notch folk-pop songwriting, lonesome narratives (like the perfectly gutting Drowning Man) and a gently swinging mood enhanced by distant mellotron, viola, violin and horns.

Top track: Drowning Man

The Abramson Singers – Live
Friday, 24 May 2013 00:29 | Written by Jared Schlechte

If you happened to miss our article earlier this week about The Abramson Singers, you may have missed that they had a show at The Artful Dodger on Tuesday night. Playing some of the most beautiful and well put together music I have heard since the first City & Colour album, The Abramson Singers had me completely drawn in the entire set. I knew going to the show that I could expect a wonderful evening of folk music, but I didn’t expect how actually wonderful and amazing it was. I’m already running out of big adjectives to use to describe how good The Abramson Singers were. They beauty of live shows is you get that little bit of flare and excitement that only comes from music being created right in front of you. From small things like noticing that even though Leah Abramson, the lead singer, was sick with the flu, she is still one of the best vocalists I have met, and she was sick. The harmonies between the two vocalists are as impressive as they are perfectly orchestrated and beautiful. I don’t think they missed a single note. There was also the amazing organ, grand piano solo/rock out that was flooring. These are not things you get to notice while listening to a studio album. It makes you appreciate everything a little bit more.

I used the City & Colour comparison earlier for a reason as well. I fully expect to see The Abramson Singers selling out large theatres in the coming years. They already have everything the need to be successful, and now they just need the recognition.

So there I sat, with a cup of coffee and my camera, and listened, really listened. When the last song came I was sad. This is a band I may not see for a while, as they have big plans in the coming year. However, I can be glad to know that I was there, at the beginning.

Argue Job Blog, May 26, 2013

YES. The Abramson Singers are back with Late Riser. ‘Jack of Diamonds’ may number among the best alt-folk songs of the year. Leah Abramson’s 2010 release contained a track of such enduring quality that my heart jumped at finding this new record at CJSR last week. The Abramson Singers are perfect for fans of Gregory & The Hawk, Laura Veirs, and the softer side of Land of Talk. This record is flush with musicianship of the highest calibre. Abramson is in her element, her warm voice spreading a blanket over what are obviously much deliberated compositions. Colin Stewart’s production does not go unnoticed. Late Riser is a beam of light through the bedroom curtains.