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

 |   |  <1 min read

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   Music articles index

Judith Owen: Happy This Way (Courgette)

Judith Owen: Happy This Way (Courgette)

For Jamie Cullum to call Owen "the female Randy Newman" only tells you wee Jamie needs to be more familiar with Randy. But singer-pianist Owen (married to Spinal Tap bassist Derek... > Read more

Great North: Soldiers (Great North)

Great North: Soldiers (Great North)

New bands often make great claims for themselves -- that is forgivable -- but I especially like the humour of what this Auckland five-piece say of their music: "It is the sound of Bruce... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Anouar Brahem: The Astounding Eyes of Rita (ECM/Ode)

Anouar Brahem: The Astounding Eyes of Rita (ECM/Ode)

The previous album posted at Elsewhere by this oud player, Le Voyage de Sahar, was one of the best in his long career and -- as with Le pas du chat noir of 2002 -- confirmed that he was craeting... > Read more

B.B. King: Makin' Love is Good For You (SBird/Southbound)

B.B. King: Makin' Love is Good For You (SBird/Southbound)

With the great B.B. King due to arrive in Australasia for concerts, this now-readily available album from 2000 is timely. It caught him on a career high with his road-tested band in the studio just... > Read more