Music Review: Bat For Lashes, “Two Suns”
Bat For Lashes’ “Two Suns” is immediate confirmation that Natasha Khan is not simply a costumes-and-theatrics heir to Kate Bush. Khan’s exoticism is backed up by rich, sumptuous songcraft on this sophomore collection, fulfilling the promise of 2006′s “Fur and Gold” and its great Goth-pop single, “What’s a Girl to Do?” And while comparisons to Bush might be inescapable for Khan at the moment, they have never been more apt: the first single, “Daniel,” is Khan’s “Running Up That Hill,” a haunting percussion-and-viola fueled ballad whose chorus contains possibly the most penetrating musical hook of 2009.
Improving on the uneven but beguiling “Fur and Gold,” “Two Suns” is filled with such dramatic moments. With its thundering gospel choir and droning strings, “Peace of Mind” finds an unprecedented middle ground between Southern spirituals and Khan’s Pakistani heritage. “Siren Song” begins as seduction and escalates to a threat as its heroine promises adulation before admitting to madness and “evil.”
Khan finds her match toward the end of “Two Suns” when she duets with progressive pop legend Scott Walker on the “The Big Sleep,” her ethereal soprano intertwining with his vibrato-soaked, vampiric baritone. Each song is carefully formed and worthy here, heralding Bat For Lashes as the new standard-bearer for mystical, romantic art-rock — crack open a Bronte novel and plug in the headphones.
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