Saturday, April 04, 2009

Two Suns from Bat for lashes

Natasha Khan is Bat for Lashes and with the first song on her new album "Two Suns" she immediately caught my ears, and after seeing the album cover, she caught my eyes. A beautiful album design placing her in the centre, two worlds in her hand. Is that a tear on her cheek and a crown of stars or thorns? So many questions. Is there a vinyl version? - this would look great on any wall.

It all started when I saw her as a similar artist on for PJ Harvey and My Brightest Diamond. So basically nothing could go wrong with me picking up her record, and after listening it for several times, we were a match made in heaven.
Her music reminds me of 80s Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush (although I only own one album of the latter) and more recently, Yeasayer. So it did not really come as a surprise when I read that actaul members of Yeasayer participated in the creation of this record. Her voice is indeed almost as strong as those of PJ Harvey and Sarah Wooden, but still unique. Music wise she is a lot smoother than Polly Jean (Check out her latest cooperation with John Parish), and replaces Sarah Wooden's guitar with a grain-shed of other instruments.

As mentioned earlier, "Glass" is a very strong opener, the perfect song to kick the album off. It takes you to a different universe with its echoing (tribal?) drums, synthesiser bass and hollow guitar. All together it sounds epic, and that's wher it reminds me of Peter Gabriel: Serious lyrics, dominating drums and low bass. It's only four and a half minutes long, but you`ll keep repeating it till infity.

I like "Sleep Alone" for the background vocal and cymbal which set in after about 45 seconds. Haunting vocals, subtle synthesizers and nice rhythm which keeps your feet tapping. Together with "Moon and Moon", this song is stuff that puts you into a dream like state (edit: actually counts for the whole album in retrospect). "Daniel" is the first single from this album and a good one. It's got a catchy chorus that you can pick up without a lot of difficulty. Those violins at the 2 minute mark must be an addition of Yeasayer, they sound so recognisable.

"Peace of mind" is a great combination of traditional and modern instruments, woven together into a songs which follows the beat of the drum. "World Music" just popped into my head while writing about this song. "Pearl's Dream" wants me to buy a drum machine and start experimenting myself. Wonderfull rhythm she devised there. Also love the chorus which acts as anchor in all the experimentation and sampling.

"Good Love" sounds like a mix between BSS' "Anthems for a seventeen year old girl" and the Zombies' "Way I feel inside". The organ at the start of the song resembling that of the Zombies, and the generally sad mood of the song reminding of the Anthem. Together with "Two Planets" (Which is the song that is most out "there" on this album), "Good Love" makes sure that the whole album keeps you captivated. There is no filler here.

What is on this album, is a great mix between piano and drum-lead songs. Experimental at times, but highly listenable. Dreamy, but not at all light. Unusual and delicate music with a lot of detail, but without making it sound as complicated kitsch.
In short: Buy it on monday.