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

Holly Cole: Holly Cole (Alert)

Holly Cole: Holly Cole (Alert)

Cole is the dark mistress of jazz-noir which probably sounds best in an ill-lit nightclub as you are waiting for Bogie and Bacall to drop in. That kind of smoke-filled and evocative music.... > Read more

Joe Henry; Civilians (Anti/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Joe Henry; Civilians (Anti/Shock) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

With a small band, and guests Bill Frisell (on guitar) and Van Dyke Parks (piano), the much ignored Henry continues his singular path which owes a little to a less grumbly Tom Waits but remains... > Read more

New Elsewhere

LED ZEPPELIN REVISITED, PART THREE (2015): More graffiti scribbles

LED ZEPPELIN REVISITED, PART THREE (2015): More graffiti scribbles

As we have now learned to our (literal) cost, the Jimmy Page remastering of Led Zeppelin albums plus a "bonus disc" of uneccesary "mixes" is little more than a PR job to flog... > Read more

Cynthia Lennon: Walking in the Rain (1995)

Cynthia Lennon: Walking in the Rain (1995)

It was inevitable that after their divorce, Cynthia Lennon -- married to John for six years from '62 -- would live in the shadow of her famous husband and struggle to find a meaningful place in the... > Read more