Published Oct 02, 2015There's something incredibly cute about Emilie Kahn sharing her band name with the name of her harp, Ogden. But to summarize the debut record from Emilie & Ogden as "cute" would be an extraordinary disservice — 10 000 is fierce. It's a strike, about as twee as the 10,000 talons across the heart that Kahn sings of in her title track.
An unavoidable result of beautifully playing the harp, Kahn's powerful attitude is hidden by a soothing layer of instrumentation — paired with a soft folk soundscape and delicious harmonies, courtesy of band mates Dominic Lalonde and Francis Ledoux, 10 000 is a lush reverie — but underneath the album's comforting exterior is the harsh truth. How Kahn handles this truth though is part of why 10 000 is so compelling.
"I can play along like I can play this song for you while she's getting you off," sings Kahn on "White Lies," the album's centrepiece. With each word scorched by betrayal, Kahn is not tempted by nostalgia; rather, the staccato rhythm evokes determined steps forward. On opener "Blame," Kahn removes the guilt and grief that sits on her shoulders and becomes more powerful with each repetition of the lyric "you're to blame." On "What Happened," Kahn looks to the future and authoritatively delivers this powerhouse of a line: "Well, I am all done praying / I'd rather watch you burn and fade away."
Kahn's assertiveness throughout, mixed with the equally powerful instrumentation, means that 10 000 exudes confidence. She's unapologetic and ready to take on anything — and how freeing it all is. In "Hold Me Down," Kahn says it plainly: "Though I'm sweet, don't be deceived." (Secret City)