Kah - More Than Dawn
Kah is a female singer/songwriter from London that describes creating her records like “reading under covers by torchlight… In my songs are my dreams. In my dreams are my songs.” it’s a delightful image and one that’s important to hold to mind when listening to her debut album More Than Dawn.
The album opens with ‘Wanting to be Haunted’, which has a crawling bass line that shifts around the listeners feet like a snake, steadily wrapping them up in its addictive seductiveness. It has a strong Massive Attack influence but think more ‘Inertia Creeps’ rather than ‘Unfinished Sympathy’, with its rattling bones rhythms and muted but soulful singing.
Kah’s voice is best put to use when she moves away from this dark foreboding trip-hop doom and into the sunny optimism that is ‘Kite’. With a delicate guitar lick and distant programmed beats and clicks, it really brings her voice to life and reveals a deeper emotion than is allowed in the greasy underground sound of the surrounding tracks.
This is where the biggest problem with More Than Dawn lies. The reason Massive Attack excelled, and continue to excel, in the darkness of swirling atmospherics and doomed rumbles is that the lyrics were as equally disconnected as the music. They created an unsettling landscape that pulled the listener to mysterious places that no other artist had done before. The difference with Kah’s album is that the songs and lyrics are deeply personal affairs, packed with intimate thoughts, that the music occasionally contradicts with its aloof darker connotations. Songs like the aforementioned ‘Kite’ and new single ‘Goose Girl’ do succeed in bridging this gap with warmer melodies and sympathetic beats, but it doesn’t happen enough.
This album feels like a stepping stone, and perhaps with album number two we’ll have more of an idea what sort of song-writer Kah is. But right now her soulful lyrics and heart-spilled tales are lost in the wasteland of a trip-hop apocalypse.