Don’t mourn for Ogden the harp, it still plays a major role on Emilie Kahn’s new album, Outro. It’s just that it no longer gets featured status as it did on the first album attributed to Emilie and Ogden. Ms Kahn is out on her own now, no longer hiding behind the harp. Now she is front and centre, on a far more personal record.
At times her harp and voice make a fragile pairing, sometimes quite pained as on ‘Island’, “I’ll disappear you’ll never have to think of me again.” Synths and drums push the song along, as she dreams of being told to stay, but this is one dream that doesn’t come true.
Despite the classical nature of the harp, Outro is rooted in present day, lyrically and musically. Connecting those to two worlds is part and parcel of what Kahn does with the help of producer Warren C. Spicer of Plants and Animals. There is a sheen to this music leaning on indie pop, running toward grandiosity while still being rooted in a sense of melancholy. Dynamics run the gamut from quiet to massive, often in the same song.
The mistakes come into play throughout these nine tunes, mistakes of commission and omission. Perhaps the most reveal moment on Horse are the final moments when everything is stripped back to just Kahn’s voice singing, “I think we’re done.” In that moment nothing more is needed.
Guitar, bass, and harp merge on Seeking with piano move to the fore as the voices fade back into the mix creating a sense of melancholy that pervades much of the album. No longer the young woman from Emelie and Ogden, what we have now is a more mature individual, now looking back with a sense of melancholy at a world, and those things that might have been but are no more.
While Ogden hasn’t gone away, we are now clearly in Emilie Kahn’s world, where pain and uncertainty are prevalent. These are adult emotions from a songwriter who has moved into a far different space. Kahn is clearly coming into her own on Outro and there is no need to hide behind the old moniker. She is playing for keeps and doing it on her own terms.