mon 16/12/2019

CD: Bat For Lashes - Lost Girls | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Bat For Lashes - Lost Girls

CD: Bat For Lashes - Lost Girls

Return from the margins to pop majesty for Natasha Khan

There's no knowing what to expect from Natasha Khan. Her most recent output has been furiously intense Thai and Persian psyche rock covers (as SEXWITCH in 2015) followed by torch songs full of shadow and eeriness (Bat For Lashes' 2016 The Bride). It rather felt from these two releases that she was happy cosmically dreaming on the margins – certainly in contrast to the strange pop promise of her early work, which prefigured the likes of Grimes and Lana Del Rey in many ways, and suggested someone with an eye on grandiose visions materially as well as mystically. 

But it turns out she wasn't finished with pop in the slightest: this album is very possibly her boldest and brightest. She's often played with alter-egos, and this time it's Nikki Pink, through which she's constructed a beautifully consistent, sparkling, desire-led aesthetic. The sound is Eighties sophistication – you can hear lashings of A-Ha, Propaganda, Tango in the Night, Let's Dance, later Siouxie, quiet storm soul, and the instrumental “Vampires” could have escaped from The Cure's sessions c.1987. 

But in the same way Jessie Ware or Blood Orange do, she makes that aesthetic her own through absolute sincerity and killer songwriting. In particular, “Feel for You” and “Jasmine” find an uncanny mid-point between the freestyle funk pop of early Madonna or Whitney and the gothic reverb chambers of The Cure and Cocteau Twins, while slow songs like the closer “Mountains” create a stately space all of their own. Constantly throughout, riffs and rhythms that should be wearingly familiar are made psychedelically new, while out there synth sounds like the one that snakes through “Peach Sky” are made to sound perfectly normal in pop terms. For all that there is loss and fear in the lyrics, this songwriting transmutes these emotions into glittering gold. This is a fantastic surprise, a fantastic album – maybe even Khan's best to date – and a very welcome return indeed.

It turns out she wasn't finished with pop in the slightest: this album is very possibly her boldest and brightest

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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