Album review for The Skinny
Anyone acquainted with Bat For Lashes’ highly regarded debut Fur and Gold will know that the Brighton singer-songwriter (real name Natasha Khan) is something of a New Age siren. On this highly anticipated follow-up, she ups the mystic ante, harnessing the tribal energy of kindred spirits Yeasayer (most noticeably on thrilling opener Glass) and poses on the cover in body paint against a desert-at-night backdrop. So far, so cosmic. But there are also less predictable developments: Peace of Mind boasts an “all-black, all-gay” gospel choir, and legendary crooner Scott Walker makes a rare guest appearance on the vaudevillian finale that is The Big Sleep.
Conceptually, Two Suns is an album of opposites, an exploration of contrasting perspectives that Khan takes as far as the alter-ego ‘Pearl’, a character who acts as her more brazen, provocative self. While this can lead to occasional moments of lyrical indulgence, of more import is the fact that it only furthers her chameleon ability to flit between styles, from the menacing electro of Sleep Alone to the polyphonic vocals of Pearl’s Dream to the synth-pop gloss of current single Daniel. In less able hands such divergent ambitions would clash horribly; in Khan’s they gel to form another measured, consistently excellent album.
Out 6 April on Parlophone
Bat For Lashes play QMU, Glasgow on 8 Apr