tue 30/05/2017

CD: Emilie & Ogden - 10,000 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Emilie & Ogden - 10,000

CD: Emilie & Ogden - 10,000

Steely Canadian songwriter is not just another girl with a harp

It would be easy to descend into melancholy but instead it becomes a reawakening
Emilie & Ogden: a musical duo unlike any other

Names can be deceiving: take Emilie & Ogden. Once you know that the name is not that of a traditional duo, but rather describes Canadian musician Emilie Kahn and her Ogden harp, it’s hard to escape the thought that the music will be syrupy-sweet, twee and incredibly precious. But while it’s true that Kahn’s instrumental palette lends itself to a certain delicacy, underneath is a steely gaze and core of fire.

An example: the album’s title track on which Kahn sings of potential squandered – a path not taken or a bad relationship, it’s hard to say. It would be easy to descend into melancholy but instead, with the added boost of Dominic Lalonde’s harmonies and Francis Ledoux on drums, it becomes a re-awakening. “If you do that again I will love and leave you so fast it will make your head spin,” Kahn sings; with roughly the same effect on the listener’s heart. Another: the cover of Taylor Swift’s “Style” that made her a small-scale YouTube sensation, her steely-sweet voice giving Ryan Adams a lesson in reinterpretation.

The inevitable Joanna Newsom comparisons fade with each listen: although more stripped-back songs like “Nothing New” and “Babel” owe a sonic debt to the Californian’s debut, stylistically Kahn’s work draws as much from the kiss-offs of contemporary pop and alternative rock. With its dirty bassline and huge, soaring bridge, “White Lies” is as brutal a break-up song as Alanis Morissette never penned – although it’s far harder to imagine reaching for the harp at 3am after three bottles of wine than it is a guitar – while “Hold Me Down” is pure Imogen Heap in its experimental, atmospheric beauty.

Overleaf: listen to "What Happened" by Emilie & Ogden


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