Review ·

Natasha Khan is a woman of many guises. Already operating under the pseudonym Bat for Lashes, Khan has adopted an alter ego named Pearl for her sophomore effort, Two Suns. Described as “a destructive, self-absorbed, blonde, femme fatale … who acts as a direct foil to Khan’s more mystical, desert-born spiritual self,” Khan accesses Pearl as a means of exploring the duality of such celestial heavyweights as planets and the sun, not to mention the duality of self and relationships. It goes without saying that, in the wrong hands, a concept this mystically loaded could have resulted in cosmic catastrophe. So it is to Khan’s great credit that Two Suns is a resounding success, full of warmth, unfading spirit, and, by the penultimate track, “Traveling Woman,” an album that finds its protagonist reemerging a newly independent spirit who is advised to “listen to the vision/play in the ashes of what you once were.”

 

The album features collaborations from Brooklyn-based psych-pop outfit Yeasayer as well as Scott Walker, who contributes his quivering, vibrato-laden vocals to the final track, “The Big Sleep.” Perhaps the biggest contributor of all is the inclusion of expansive, Peter Gabriel-sized synths, providing the fire under which many of these eleven tracks sizzle. Kick-off single ”Daniel” rides in on waves of keys and cuffed guitar that recall some of the greatest of '80s past (think the epic storytelling of Kate Bush paired with the gypsy-eyed mysticism of Stevie Nicks and you’re somewhere in the right ball park) all the while retaining a modernized sound and identity that is Khan’s own. Much different from the baroque, stubbornly unconventional stylings of Khan’s debut, Fur and Gold, with “Daniel” Khan offers up one of the year's most melodiously rich, straightforward, and well-crafted pop songs.

 

On the chorus to album opener “Glass,” we find Khan’s stunning voice being hurtled sky high, its toughness providing a nice juxtaposition to the overtly fantastical imagery eluded to, which ranges from “emerald cities” to “crystal towers” to “capes of red and gold.”  But perhaps most stunning is the ultimate clashing of Khan’s two personae’s on album centerpiece “Siren Song,” in which Khan promises a man, “I’ll always be happy to kiss you/ Promise I’ll never get sad.” By the time the harrowing chorus kicks in, Khan finds a force “driving me evil,” and Pearl introduces herself with “blond curls [that] slice through your heart.” It’s the ultimate inner battle of good and evil, one that even the best of us wrestle with when making ourselves vulnerable to the entanglements and snares of love, and one that Khan has found her most confident and enthralling voice in yet.    

 

***

Band: http://www.batforlashes.com

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/batforlashes

  • Glass
  • Sleep Alone
  • Moon and Moon
  • Daniel
  • Peace of Mind
  • Siren Song
  • Pearl's Dream
  • Good Love
  • Two Planets
  • Traveling Woman
  • The Big Sleep

Bat for Lashes second album sees Brighton's Natasha Khan introducing some special guests, notably Scott Walker and Yeasayer, and, more bizarrely, her alter-ego, Pearl, described by the press release as "a destructive, self-absorbed, blonde, femme fatale of a persona who acts as a direct foil to Khan's more mystical, desert-born spiritual self."
 
The bombastic release goes on to explain that the follow-up to Mercury Music Prize nominated Fur and Gold is "a record of modern-day fables exploring dualities on a number of levels – two lovers, two planets, two sides of a personality," with Khan meditating on "the philosophy of the self and duality, examining the need for both chaos and balance, for both love and pain, in addition to touching on metaphysical ideas concerning the connections between all existence."
 
Two Suns was recorded in segments in California, New York, London, Brighton and Wales. Co-produced by Khan and Dave Kosten, her collaborator on Fur and Gold, the album also features Bat for Lashes' touring band, The Blue Dreams, on several tracks.

Sonic Youth - The Eternal Rush Retrospective 3 (CD/DVD)
Sponsored Content

Props for spotlighting this album so early; I hadn't even been aware the album was coming out so imminently. Of course, it's leaked already, and is sounding a bit hit-and-miss so far. I'm interested to see what kind of configuration she brings to her live shows in NYC. The album suggests that she's parted ways with her backing violinist/violist/keyboardist/drummer.

http://www.lizzyville.com

Liz Colville

okay i have decided i am going to buy tickets for one of there gigs aswell as there album just because they are amazing!!!!!!!!!!

Ollie Carter

Ayo-It's Natasha Khan, not Samantha.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

Find us on Facebook

Latest Comments

    Recommended