Originally Written and Posted at Epinions.com on 5/26/09.
One of the most interesting new artists to come out of Britain, Natasha Khan who is known as Bat for Lashes is a singer-songwriter that is known for creating dreamy, esoteric music. With influences ranging from Annie Lennox, Kate Bush, and Steve Reich, Khan has been gaining critical acclaim in recent years for her esoteric sounds ranging from piano ballads to more world-music, electronic-driven pieces. In 2007, Khan released her debut album under the Bat for Lashes moniker entitled Fur and Gold.
Written by Natasha Khan and produced by Khan and David Kosten, Fur and Gold is a record filled with Khan's earthy, dream-like vocals and a musical presentation ranging from piano ballads, dreamy electronic pieces, and elegant arrangements ranging from Oriental to European. With lyrics filled with heartbreak, innocence, and other themes. It's a record that is haunting yet mesmerizing that showcased Khan's unique talents as Fur and Gold is a fascinating, well-crafted debut album.
The album opener Horse And I arrives with tingling melodies of string instruments and harpsichords for an Indian-like presentation. With its haunting string accompaniments, Khan's dreamy vocals arrive with dark lyrics filled with imagery-laden surroundings. The song is then accompanied by a cadence-like drum fill accompaniment as Khan's vocals carry the track. The album's second single Trophy arrives with a low-sounding bass line with thumping electronic beats and a hollow, striking piano accompaniment. With shaking percussions accompanying Khan's ethereal vocals, the song includes some very esoteric lyrics as growling guitars and clapping rhythms arrive. Tahiti is a folk-style ballad with flourishing piano accompaniments by Khan as she plays along to some plucking string instruments. With her descriptive, dream-like lyrics, it's Khan's vocals that really take shape for the song. Especially its chorus as she sings in an elegant, high-pitch vocal with tingling chimes in the background.
The fourth single What's A Girl To Do? is the album's standout track with hollow, thumping beats and flourishing harpsichord performance. With an accompanying electronic beat and Khan's smooth vocals filled with heartbreaking lyrics, it's the song's chorus with Khan's vocals that really add a haunting quality with its wonderful, layered production. Sad Eyes is a melancholic piano ballad with slow, somber melodies as Khan's dreamy vocals really shine. With its lyrics filled with lots of sadness and heartbreak, it's another cut that really stands out. The first single The Wizard arrives with a melodic piano solo along with a smooth bass line with tapping percussion beats. With a bouncy rhythm accompaniment, Khan's vocals filled with mystical lyrics is one of the song's highlights along with its unconventional presentation.
The third single Prescilla is a rhythmic track led by foot-stomps and claps with flourishing autoharp accompaniments and Khan's dreamy vocals filled with lyrics about a strange girl named Prescilla. With its chorus filled with tingling guitar riffs and clapping rhythms, it's a good song though a bit overdone in its presentation. Bat's Mouth is a piano ballad accompanied by soothing, somber string arrangements. With Khan's breathy, angelic vocals filled with melancholic lyrics, the song becomes intense with its broad string arrangements and high-pitch, windy sounds. Seal Jubilee is a dreamy ballad led by a melodic guitar track and Khan's dreamy vocals partially distorted in its production. With a flourishing accompaniment of vibraphones in the background, it's a song filled with esoteric lyrics and screeching violins in the background as it's a track that displays Khan's unique vocal performance.
Sarah is an electronic-driven track with thumping beats, warbling synthesizers, and hollow bass lines. With Khan's eerie vocals filled with dark lyrics, she is accompanied by other female vocalists with bouncy synthesizer tracks accompanying Khan's vocals. With its unique production and unconventional presentation of instruments on top of another, it's another standout cut on the album. The final track I Saw A Light opens with an array of voices with warbling electronic backgrounds that becomes a piano ballad. With Khan performing the track, it's a song filled with Khan's somber vocals and eerie lyrics as a momentum-building violin starts to screech in providing a fitting close to the album.
While it doesn't feature a lot of standout songs, Fur and Gold is still an excellent debut release from Bat for Lashes. While the follow-up Two Suns would show a fuller, more developed sound and presentation that would give Natasha Khan huge acclaim. Fur and Gold is worth listening to hear how Khan has grown from her debut to her now acclaimed follow-up release. Even as there's some songs that are brilliant, particularly the single What's A Girl To Do? that includes a great music video of her riding a bike with other people and doing tricks. In the end, Fur and Gold is a stellar, well-crafted debut release from Bat for Lashes.
Bat for Lashes Albums: Two Suns
(Bat for Lashes/Other Lives-8/17/09 Atlanta, GA the Loft @ Center Stage)
(C) thevoid99 2011