ALBUM REVIEW: Bat For Lashes – The Bride | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

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four half

 

Parlophone

Released: 01.07.16

www.batforlashes.com

 

 

 

Even when stepping further into the realms of pop on her last album The Haunted Man, Natasha Khan’s work as Bat For Lashes has always meditated to some extent on love, loss and grief. But never as much as on her latest effort. The Bride follows the story of a woman whose fiancé is killed in a car crash on their wedding day, setting the foundations for an album that’s brimming with desolation.

While opener I Do employs some very pretty, twinkling synths, things instantly take a darker turn on Joe’s Dream, a bleak meditation filled with muted percussion and hushed harmonies. It’s deeply reminiscent of the minimalism that characterised her first album, Fur And Gold. Never Forgive The Angels, Widow’s Peak, Land’s End and I Will Love Again all similarly hark back to this time. Forming the backbone and close of the album, they build up their bluesy guitars, strings and quiet synths into haunting soundscapes.

In God’s House moves gracefully between its soaring, angelic chorus and the bass-heavy verses, while the creeping electric guitar and skittering drums on Honeymooning Alone owes much to Portishead. Meanwhile, Close Encounters marries Khan’s gorgeous vocals with warped electronic strings, creating what’s perhaps the most heart-breaking moment on the album.

The only real pop moment comes from its recent single, Sunday Love. Moderately fast paced and filled with harps, beats and electronics, it’s a decent foray into lighter territory, though the song doesn’t live up to some of Khan’s best material. Sitting alongside infinitely more measured and thoughtful tracks, it’s almost a bit out of place.

The joy of The Bride is hearing Natasha Khan show off her wonderfully flexible and deeply evocative vocals across a series of stripped-back tracks. This is Bat For Lashes at her most introspective, and it’s a blissful, heavenly experience.

 

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