THE ABRAMS BROTHERS, NORTHERN REDEMPTION

THE ABRAMS BROTHERS
NORTHERN REDEMPTION

United For Opportunity
UFO 1025

From opener to closer, we’re on the last sliver of edge here. The title track of this predominantly original-material album begins with a couple of deep thuds, then launches into a medium-tempo country rocker with a likeable melody sung upper-register, emphatically and angst-driven. That vocal matches quite well the theme of worrying over things not attempted. That gives way to a slow number about keeping love going now that morning has come. It’s called “Window” and recalls the early Bee Gees. Next up, a solid rock tune with a hint of country. Lots of electric guitar and pounding drums. I hear Fleetwood Mac, but one could argue for the Flying Burrito Brothers at their rocking-est. Finally, at track four, a travelin’ song (“Where I’m Bound”) brings out a touch of bluegrass. However, it is bluegrass as the New Riders Of The Purple Sage might have done it. It’s fast. There’s a banjo solo. But the feel is country—drums and all. And so it goes for another five songs. There are a couple more rock guitar and drum tunes. Alex Chilton’s “Thirteen,” a song about seeing the Beatles, gets a nice reading. Some pedal steel appears. A banjo and organ duet opens “Viva La Vida.” And don’t forget the french horn.

All this from the Abrams Brothers, a talented Canadian trio with a vision for writing and arranging pleasant, if sometimes lyrically vague, pop and pop country tunes. John and James handle the vocals. Both are tenor-range voices, John being slightly lower. Both, along with brother Elijah, are also fine multi-instrumentalists. Backing them are 12 guests, of which only drummer Anton Fier’s name looks familiar.

Even with “Where I’m Bound” and a couple tracks with banjo coloring, it’s hard to call any of this bluegrass, and very little of it country. But it is still pretty good music, well-played and sung and cleverly arranged. (United For Opportunity 133 W. 25th St., 5th Fl., New York, NY 10001 www.ufomusic.com.)BW

 

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