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

Single Review – Bat For Lashes – Joe’s Dream

The creative force of Natasha Khan continues to generate as she releases another single from her upcoming July 1st album The Bride with ‘Joe’s Dream’. The track 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. It looks like another strong album is on the way from Bat For Lashes and it would be far from a surprise from such a talented individual.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Bat For Lashes – Sunday Love

Natasha Khan has released another single from her impending July 1st album The Bride  with ‘Sunday Love’. The track 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. Her fourth album looks to be another wonderfully intriguing prospect for one of the country’s great creative forces.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Bat For Lashes – In God’s House

Natasha Khan has released the title of her upcoming fourth album with The Bride which will be available on July 1st. Having already released a very simple tune, she has now turned to her first single-esque track with ‘In God’s House’. The track 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.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Bat For Lashes – I Do

The multi-talented Natasha Khan is back making music for her first album as Bat For Lashes since 2012. The follow-up to The Haunted Man is said to linked thematically to a feature film she has been working on, but this remains to be seen. With ‘I Do’ we’re simply told to save the date of July 1st. The simple and innocent track 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 doubter her vocal prowess. A nice little track, but she’s giving nothing away with this one.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Sunday Suggestion – Bat For Lashes – Daniel

Bat For Lashes or Natasha Khan has been a real driving force behind creative, innovative and darker pop music; taking away a lot of the stigma it had gathered after by the late 90’s and through into the 21st century. Her songs have always been known to have eerie or powerful feels and statements with lyrics that are far more captivating than a vast amount of ‘lazy’ pop music. ‘Daniel’ is a great example of it. From her 2009 album Two Suns, it is one of her most popular tracks from what was a year of great music. The track opens with wiry violins that evoke more natural and narrative tones that are offset by the snap of the electronic drum beat along with the lapping synths and guitars. Natasha’s vocals reverberate and echo around themselves in that wistful and airy fashion in the verses whilst having a slight peak of urgency and power which she can deliver with ease, but she just as easily lull the song back into it’s verses. The song is evocative of the lyrics of fear and needing someone there and this is enhanced further by her vocal performance. A pop song that has meaning and a profound reflection of a feeling or emotion, but still has that snapping rhythm and beat.

Single Review – Bat For Lashes – Skin Song

Bat For Lashes Shares

Following on from 2012’s The Haunted Man; Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes is working on her fourth studio album, but for now she is releasing a new single called ‘Skin Song’. It is a contribution to a project entitled Body of Songs which explores how medicine and anatomy can inspire music. The song opens in a forlorn, whirring fashion with muted synth overtones and jagged distorted guitars in the background. It’s a song with a gloomy instrumental flow and rotation from which Khan’s vocals soar through like she does so effortlessly. The muted and misty set up is set up perfectly for her vocal to deliver nostalgic lyrics. She can do this type of track in her sleep.

 https://soundcloud.com/bodyofsongs/skin-song-bat-for-lashes

Image from Shawn Brackbill

 

Sunday Suggestion – Bat For Lashes – Daniel

Bat For Lashes or Natasha Khan has been a real driving force behind creative, innovative and darker pop music; taking away a lot of the stigma it had gathered after by the late 90’s and through into the 21st century. Her songs have always been known to have eerie or powerful feels and statements with lyrics that are far more captivating than a vast amount of ‘lazy’ pop music. ‘Daniel’ is a great example of it. From her 2009 album Two Suns, it is one of her most popular tracks from what was a year of great music. The track opens with wiry violins that evoke more natural and narrative tones that are offset by the snap of the electronic drum beat along with the lapping synths and guitars. Natasha’s vocals reverberate and echo around themselves in that wistful and airy fashion in the verses whilst having a slight peak of urgency and power which she can deliver with ease, but she just as easily lull the song back into it’s verses. The song is evocative of the lyrics of fear and needing someone there and this is enhanced further by her vocal performance. A pop song that has meaning and a profound reflection of a feeling or emotion, but still has that snapping rhythm and beat.

image from www.covermesongs.com

Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots Review

Amazingly, this is the great mans first solo outing with Everyday Robots which will be released tomorrow. It will be one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year when you consider the guys scale and experience from the progression of Blur, Gorillaz, Africa Express and so on. I’m sure it won’t disappoint and the fact that he’s claimed to have written around seventy tracks for this album should act as a guarantor. He still remains an unresolved character for many people who all seem to think there is something he’s not telling them or that his inner thoughts hold the holy grail of music or something. As far as I’m concerned he’s just a little reserved and would much rather speak with his music. You did get the feeling he was on to something new and different though upon releasing the title track back in January. The question now would be; has he pushed this throughout the album?

The title track is typically subdued and a little off beat, yet all so melodic at the same time. The mismatch of percussion and the eerie strings and other sounds stand side by side with Damon’s resigned, considered and nostalgic vocal. All the parts and samples are very isolated and separate from one another, yet wind together at certain points before unravelling on their own path again. It is pretty unconventional and even more so it is doing something different and see’s him utilising his imagination. Yet again it would seem we largely can’t really on the younger generations to provide anything to make you sit up and take notice and so with my eagerness for this song, there is a tinge of bleakness at why others don’t follow the example of their idols rather than copying them. ‘Lonely Press Play’ has a similar broken and mis-matched rhythm engages in a more shuffling and crisp fashion than the more wired sounds of ‘Everyday Robots’. This type of rhythm is clashed with more natural sounds from the piano and the strings and their melodic characteristics. Damon’s loose and contented vocals slot in to the song’s structure and add a gentle fluidity to the conflicting dynamics of the song. A different angle of the approach he used for the title track and with results just as worthy.

‘Hollow Ponds’ starts with softly rotating acoustic riff and a light whirring from an organ along with clasping percussion. The vocals are really focus of this track with Damon’s more narrative sound taking precedence over the simple instrumentals. These narrative tones that deliver the considered and intimate lyrics develop into the more melodic and involved bursts which he still delivers with that exasperated melody that he possesses. ‘The Selfish Giant’ has a pulse mimicking bass line with harmonious piano chords wrapped around them. Damon’s vocals are even more isolated and intimate than the last track and from this the song expands the shimming synths and samples, as well as being backed up by vocals from the brilliant Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes. The song is wonderfully subdued and tinged with a lighter and more hopeful melody. Tracks such as ‘Hostiles’ has a delicate acoustic riff tied up by Damon’s more wistful vocal but offset by clunky yet perfectly placed percussion. ‘Heavy Seas of Love’ have Albarn’s vocals given greater depth from Brian Eno’s in a track that turns a little anthemic, euphoric and optimistic. ‘Mr Tembo’ however is more like Albarn performing a Ben Howard song which is welcome in terms of the light being provided as opposed to the shade. Of course he makes it his own and makes it sound much better than it should, but it seems like very trodden ground for someone like Damon yet it’s still a good song. The album is a mysterious and subdued affair that uses methods that should leave you cold but instead radiate warmth. A lot of that has to do with his earthy and often close vocal, but he has combined conflicting elements pretty effectively. There’s one of two dips that are still very worthy tracks but on the whole hey! It is a bloody fantastic effort for a debut is it not? Haha.

Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots = 8.5/10

images from consequenceofsound.net / www.thelineofbestfit.com