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Welcome to the (haunted) house of fun
Paul Nolan, 27 Mar 2009
I became a fan of Natasha Khan, aka Bat For Lashes, after happening upon the brilliant video for ‘What’s A Girl To Do’ on TV late one night. The Brighton singer’s atmospheric music and fantastic voice have earned her the admiration of artists such as MIA and Thom Yorke, and indeed Radiohead – showing their usual impeccable taste in support acts – invited her to tour with them last year.
After delivering such an accomplished debut in Fur And Gold, much was expected of the follow-up, and Khan has resoundingly delivered the goods. A stunningly imaginative piece of work, Two Suns has a wonderful haunted storybook feel, similar to the surrealist animations of Jan Svankmeyer or the Brothers Quay. Many of the tracks are built around eerie synths, creepy guitar, melancholy piano and tribal drumming, with numerous other inventive touches thrown into the mix.
Reference points include PJ Harvey, Bjork, English psychedelia as practiced by The Beatles and Barrett, and (especially) Kate Bush, but Khan manages to leave her own distinctive imprint on each track. The first single, ‘Daniel’, is a case in point; it starts out with Khan singing over a mix of guitar and synth, before kicking into an uptempo groove featuring hypnotic drums, thumping bass and inspired use of strings.
Other stand-out tunes include the bewitching duo of ‘Moon And Moon’ and ‘Peace Of Mind’, but perhaps my favourite track is ‘Good Love’, which blends organ, piano, ethereal vocals and other-worldly synth washes to captivating effect. The album concludes with ‘The Big Sleep’, a low-key chamber piece wherein Khan’s vocals are complemented beautifully by some ghostly wailing from Scott Walker.
Overall, Two Suns is an absolutely superb album that’s likely to feature on many critics’ best-of lists come the end of the year.
Key Track: 'Good love'