Friday, September 14, 2007

Bat for Lashes

Okay then, a word or two about Bat for Lashes' much-praised Fur and Gold.

This album will inevitably be compared to the likes of Kate Bush, Bjork, Tori Amos, and the PJ Harvey of To Bring You My Love and Is This Desire? It is true that Bat for Lashes (the nom-de-musique of one Natasha Khan, an Anglo-Pakistani singer, songwriter, and poly-talented musician from festive seaside town Brighton, England) bears some traces of all those great precursors: her music has the dreaminess and Druidic sexuality of Kate Bush, the dark fairy tale enchantmentand strange lyrics of Bjork, the emotional intensity of Amos, and the theatrical flair and shape-shifting multi-persona narratives of PJ Harvey. But somehow Khan's music is strikingly original, and it would sell her quite short to just hear her as a retread of Kate Bush, Bjork, etc.

Fur and Gold is an atmospheric blend of harpsichord melodies, orchestral swells, low and sexy rhythms, and Khan's marvelous voice, which is somehow delicate and fierce at the same time. The lyrics are full of dream figures and folkloric characters (in many songs Khan seems to be singing from the point of view of a bat), and it's impossible to tell which songs are"autobiographical" and which are pure (or mostly) fiction. The album is glorious, a lovely strangeness compressed into short pop songs and ballads.

Khan’s voices haunts the music and assumes manyguises: in one song her tone is that of an enraptured lover, inanother she's an impetuous ice queen with a Diana Rigg accent, in
others she\'s a forlorn orphan or a startled visionary. Personalfavorites like "Trophy" and "Sarah" combine all of her best elements into one darkly glittering whole.

No comments: