Indie Band Guru says:
Karen Allen tells us where she’s been in Here We Are Now
A portrait of love and grief, Karen Allen’s latest album Here We Are Now should resonate with anyone who’s ever experienced loss and recovery.
Honest and relatable storytelling
Each song from the album seems to recall scenes from Allen’s memories in vague yet relatable detail. Rather than focusing on the specific events that inspired their writing, her lyrics reflect on the feelings and lessons engendered by those events. “Forgiveness, you didn’t know. It will bring you down, let it go;” these words from the album’s fourth track, “Forgiveness,” articulate that point beautifully. They are a fragmented yet cohesive expression of what it feels like to seek self-forgiveness through acceptance and honesty. In this way, Karen Allen has crafted a work of art that serves as both a self-portrait and a mirror in which we see ourselves.
A musical life
While Here We Are Now may be the most personal of her projects so far, Karen Allen’s extensive discography outlines an entire life shaped by a deeply rooted love of music. That love is clearly a source of strength and inspiration for Allen, as evidenced by the album’s title track. There’s a rebellious energy to the song, conveyed through imagery and a powerful vocal performance, which effectively recalls her alt-grunge roots and the years of stage experience that have shaped her identity as an artist. The contrast between this energy and the sadness permeating the rest of the album gives us a glimpse into the way that music and performance have fueled Allen’s healing process.
The album was produced by Ken Stringfellow, well known for his work with groups including The Posies, R.E.M. and Big Star. Thanks to his contributions, along with those of Aden Stringfellow (background vocals) and John Kessler (bass guitar), Here We Are Now has proven to be Karen Allen’s best work to date. The mix is clean and the production rich, creating clarity and shape which engage the ear just as Allen’s lyrics engage the heart.
The healing power of expression
From beginning to end, Here We Are Now feels like catharsis. Karen Allen’s evocative and candid storytelling leads us on a journey through heartache and the bitter-sweetness of healing. A triumph of expression over depression, this album provides hope and inspiration by reminding us that no matter how fraught the road, there’s always a way forward towards future where we can breathe deeply and shout, here we are now.
Reviewer: Jaren Cloud
Jaren Cloud is a lifelong musician and recently assimilated desk monkey writing feverishly from a basement somewhere in the California desert.https://soundcloud.com/jaren-cloud