Bat For Lashes – The Bride Review 

The Bride is the fourth studio album for Natasha Khan a.k.a Bat For Lashes. She has shown herself to be an understated creative force in her intimate lyrics and tone and always delivered with a perceptively delicate tone that quivers to a higher point of power and graceful assertion. The music around these constants has matured over this time from the well arranged and intricate electro-pop to the bracing orchestral arrangements of her more recent efforts. There is has been no pressure and nothing to prove for her in the last four years. She now has the freedom to remind everyone just how good she is with The Bride. 

Sunday Love’ shows shades of her second album Two Suns from 2009 with its siren-like synths and sweeping, monotone sounds, but beyond that, the track contains an industrious energy with quick paced rhythms and a buzzing bass sound at the foundation of the song. Each transition of sound is rapid and clean and though it has a relentless feel to it, this is tempered by a modest production and by Khan’s highly wistful delivery, stringing the song together seamlessly. Joe’s Dream’ is a five minute ponderous swoon which places Natasha’s vocals on centre stage with quivering, yet consistent melodies. These are skilfully accentuated by well placed flash points of focus and moments of faded extension. The same refinement of the riff and the haunting backing vocals behind them all raise the song and spread it’s sound outward. In God’s House’ has limited aspects of dark electronica with the rotating, low chords beneath more lightweight effects. The progression from verse to chorus sees the arrangement range from dark to glimpses of light with the rising chords and Natasha’s ever strengthening falsetto. These sounds are transmitted in wistful intervals to make for a slightly haunting track.

With ‘I Do’ we’re given a simple and innocent track which features electronically-tinged harp strings and understated orchestral string sections menacingly sweeping in behind them. The song obviously is depicting the heady optimism of a wedding day and Khan’s porcelain-like vocals gracefully pick up the harmonies in isolation, as if we ever doubted her vocal prowess. A nice and neat track. ‘Honeymooning Alone’ has that classic theatrical tone with the echoed and isolated guitars and bass line which ring out through the empty spaces. Small synth chords, subtle backing vocals and the occasional harp string flutter sting the song along in an eerie and distant fashion. It is a brilliantly executed twist on a classic sound to become the haunting and atmospheric track that it is. ‘I Will Love Again’ is another journeying track with a simple drum beat and spaced out bass lines. From this arrives Khan’s wholesome and awesome harmonies. She captivates and controls the song from the moment she opens her mouth and from there the song builds around her and not the other way around. There are some tracks such as ‘Lands End’ which lean more on the simple and more rustic guitar work, but perhaps the tracks like this on the album meander and wonder too much without a successful destination, despite being strong in every technical area. The themes of loneliness and abandonment are ever-present throughout and Khan has presented this story in a wonderfully intriguing and effortless fashion. A more than solid effort from Bat For Lashes. 

Bat For Lashes – The Bride = 8/10

Owen Riddle

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