Bat For Lashes: Fur and Gold (UNSpin/EMI)

Bat For Lashes: Horse and I
Bat For Lashes: Fur and Gold (UNSpin/EMI)

From the opening track with its repeated ripples of minimalism, the ethereal vocals, a sense of eerie strings and theremin-like synth, and the barely suppressed sense of urgency you know that something very special is in store from this oddly-named UK outfit which is the vehicle for singer/multi-instrumentalist/visual artist Natasha Khan.

That sense of quiet drama, repressed emotion, strange fairytales and a catch-all approach to instrumental possibilities (violin, autoharp, harmonium, foot tapping etc) is everywhere on this cinematically conceived album. Some of these songs -- which sound like they come from a disembodied voice -- reflect back to Kate Bush at her most innovative, or latch themselves onto reflective indie-rock, or have one ear on the world of contemporary classical music.

Or chamber music.

Khan doesn't shy away from offering spoken word passages, or referencing Phil Spector/60s girl groups in the thumping beat which drives the radio-directed What's A Girl To Do?

There is also a strange and ghostly quality at work here (an impression prompted by the sometimes spare arrangements behind her breathy vocals) which is utterly seductive.

This diverse and consistently interesting album has had rave reviews in Britain ("one of the most haunting, stupendous debuts in ages" wheezed the Sunday Times in a fairly typical comment) and you'll get no dissent from Elsewhere on this one.

Quite extraordinary.

Share It

Your Comments

Glenn Bittle - Nov 25, 2008

Thanks for putting this up, Graham. Some quite haunting stuff here with excellent instrumentation and mood. This might sound a bit left field but some of this is like Peter Gabriel might have sounded like if he were female. Maybe, maybe not. Glenn

post a comment

More from this section

Pete Seeger: American Favourite Ballads Vol 5 (Folkways/Elite)

Pete Seeger: American Favourite Ballads Vol 5 (Folkways/Elite)

Now closing in on 90, Seeger has had a great deal of attention lately: first Martin Scorsese's film on Dylan to '66 included interviews with him, and then Springsteen raided Pete's vast catalogue... > Read more

The Nextmen: This Was Supposed To Be The Future (Antidote/Elite)

The Nextmen: This Was Supposed To Be The Future (Antidote/Elite)

This is a real meltown and mash-up of styles, yet somehow it works as a guest list which includes soul diva Alice Russell, various Jamaican DJs and toasters join the producers/songwriting/remix duo... > Read more

New Elsewhere

Screaming Dizbusters: This Ain't the Summer of Love (1986)

Screaming Dizbusters: This Ain't the Summer of Love (1986)

Elsewhere's been down this side alley before with songs from a terrific double CD compilation A Real Cool Time Revisited; Swedish Punk, Pop and Garage Rock 1982-1989. The album is only... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sammy Johnson

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE REGGAE QUESTIONNAIRE: Sammy Johnson

Sammy Johnson is a genuine New Zealand reggae star. His single No Sleep -- which is on his just released debut EP -- topped the local reggae charts and got into the Billboard Top 40 reggae chart.... > Read more