Album Review: Even Sleepers by Leah Callahan

Album Name: Even Sleepers
Artist: Leah Callahan
Year/Label: 2003 / Independent

Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds

This is one of those recordings I want to listen to over and over again before reviewing it. I read the notes that came with it and I liked it before even hearing it. But once I did put it in, wow. Interesting, unique, beautiful, moving and at times scary. Genre? Cabaret I guess. It makes me feel like I’m sitting in a dark smoky room somewhere in underground Europe drinking too many martinis and smoking too many cigarettes. But I want to be there.

Leah has a smooth comforting voice that is a perfect accompaniment to this type of music which uses guitar, accordion, piano and some “chaotic percussion”.

“Valentine” has an old-world feel. In her notes she says that she takes on the persona of the girl from Ipanema.

“Better than You” shows Leah with only a stand-up bass as accompaniment and it’s haunting and gorgeous.

“Where You Are” is probably the most accessible song here. What I mean by that is you might hear it on the radio (on a really cool station only). It’s still got the semi-dissonant chords but would be very ear-catching for a first time listener.

“Shocking Pink” might be my favorite song (too bad it’s the shortest one). Though that could change next time you ask me. Callahan tells us that the intent was to sound like they’re drunk and plunking around on an old piano after closing time in Germany somewhere (love that visual). Here is a snippet of the lyrics:

I wish I could be drunk all the time,
I don’t know for sure what those chemicals
do to my brain but i’m sure feeling fine..
things don’t look ugly and things don’t look bad,
and I keep forgetting I ever was sad.”

This is a really great CD, I certainly hope that Leah Callahan puts out more recordings like this. If “cabaret, quirky”sounds cool to you, give this one a try.

Posted on October 8, 2003

Track Listing
1. Valentine
2. The Sadness I Admire
3. The Red Eye
4. Better Than You
5. Vampire Heart
6. Where You Are
7. Love Some Thing
8. Shocking Pink
9. Strip Mall

[Leah Callahan Official Site]

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