Friday, December 21, 2012
Bat For Lashes: the Haunted Man
Bat for Lashes or Natasha Khan , the British singer songwriter who got writers block before recording this album,so she called up Thom Yorke, who's band she opened for briefly on their last tour and asked what he does when he feels like he is going to die if he doesn't write something. Yorke told her to draw. So she took drawing and dance classes,I'm not sure if the dance classes made this album more dancer than it would have been without them , but this is non offensive dance music , not unlike Zola Jesus or the Knife.
Where Zola leans heavily at times on Siouxsie. khan does similar with Annie Lennox and to a lesser extent Kate Bush. The most obvious wink to Kate is on the opener "Lillies" though I can also hear some Sinead O Conneron this one as well, the thick fuzzed beat underneath the chorus , dispels this comparison , and lends credence to my theory that artists like Khan cam rout of the Witch House scene from a few years back where I got excited about the second coming of old wave goth, which did emerge more blatantly as cold wave Khans voice is the stand out here easily drifting up into her de
I ate head register always staying flexible and fluid pouring over a music which covers the space she leaves for herself in some of the minimal instrumentation, where the Xx were not as successful as they left the space but didn't have the voices to fill it.
The single "All the gold" is fancy without being silly , and doesn't go I to the formulaic places most dance music defaults to . The lyrics ride a balance between love songs and bitter in the same Zola comes across though Khan does see, to be as co dependent , even when she sings without you I have nothing left. This would be the perfect pop song of the year, it takes lot for this sort of thing to convince me but hits all the rights , the emotion is right where the beat needs it to be.
The opening beat to "Horses of the Sun " reminds me of Fever Ray , but them when I take into consideration she played with Radiohead those patterns are ore typical of their post-ok Computer era work, the chorus floats off like anthem of sorts. While this is dark enough for me the verses aren't her strongest melodies but the percussive elements are pretty cool so I'm a little split on this song.
My witch Ouse suspicions are given merit on the song" Oh yeah" which though it opens wi what sounds to be a sample choir , goes weird with backward layers swirling everywhere and the eighties keyboard sound. Khan's voices works well cutting through the chaos to ensure the melody previals,in this register she sound her most Sinead.
The first ballad on the album is the piano driven "Laura" which goes back to a Kate Bush feel , particularly on the phrasing in the hook.nits one I would have to be in a mood for and puts the breaks on the albums ,momentum but there's no denying its a well written and well sung song.
"Winter Feilds " the keys at the beginning remind me of old Genesis, the verse takes care of that comparison, her breathy emoting is particularly poignant here. On the title track which leads off in her normal dark pop fashion midway through it breaks into a male chorus and militant drum beat when her vocals return in an etheric triumph to glide over the parade.
"Marilyn" is the first song where I heard any Siouxise, i can hear even slighter strains of Cocteau Twins as well in the phrasing. The bass synth underneath the verses is cool and the scattered piano works well, the chorus melody pretty much make she song despite the attention to detail placed through out." A wall" is similar in feel, as the album takes a darker turn in the second half, though "Rest your head" gets a little more danceable but like the previous two songs maintains a somber minor melody allowing the undercurrent of the beat to give it most of the momentum, this one even has a tad of a Cyndi Lauper feel but without the more blatant Madonna wanna be poppiness.
"Deep Sea Diver" starts off almost accapella with low mixed synth underneath her. The build is. Ery gradual piano worked in slowly similar to almost a post rock approach , more progressive than the structure so far, it could have stood to developed a more Ruth,if resolution instead of just lingering. It overall this album pays these types of builds off and maybe this being the one song that didn't click all the way for me will grow on me over time. So I'll go ahead and give this album a ten as there were never any songs I just didn't like , the last one just didn't go where I wanted but the strong points of the album make up for that slight disappointment and I'll around it up as the song was interesting in the same way a lot of later period Kate Bush is.