Friday, September 18, 2009

Two Suns by Bat for Lashes

Original Release Date: April 7, 2009

  The first thing that came to mind when I saw her was: OMG she looks like Lily Allen. Natasha Khan who’s project is Bat for lashes creates amazing atmospheric music in the vein of Kate Bush and Clannad. I chanced upon her through you tube. She's wearing this 80's 'Footloose' getup haunted by men-shaped shadows.   That video Daniel made me want to learn about the album more.  The cover reminds me of Vegas for some reason.

Two Suns opens with Glass. A gradual sound that moves into a climax of tribal beats. This is where the Kate Bush reference comes up. Acoustic and synthesizers merge to create an ethnic and ethereal feel; highlighted by her heavenly wails. 

Sleep Alone has that reggae meets early Goth feel. When she sings "Lonely, Lonely..." Occasional choral  aaahhhs' embellish the tune with a suspense cinematic flavor.

Moon and Moon has that haunting resemblance to the intro to 10,000 Maniacs' Because the Night only that this is gradual and fluid. Again there's that backing vocals that sounds to me like Philip Glass meets the Beach Boys. There's also hints of operatic soprano doing a vocalise. But it's a brief song.

Daniel has a strong 80s feel. From what I've read it's a tribute to Ralph Macchio's Character in Karate Kid. Just watch the video and you will see the strong reference that I am talking about. Somehow it reminds me of "Running Up the Hill" by Kate Bush only that Natasha's vocals are gentler and more Moya Brennan. The synths are what you will expect in such eighties arrangements . There's also strong pizzicato that calls to mind Enya's style of composition. 

Peace of Mind is something that never sticks with me. The odd scale makes it uneasy . The gospel type choral singing sounds off on this one. I don't know, it's just me I guess.

Siren Song gives back the moment taken by the previous song, with the beautiful floral flourishes of the piano . The 'easy' listening is however trampled by the disturbing chorus that sounds more Diamanda Galas ...

Pearl's Dream opens with a downbeat . "There's a place I must go, There's a place I must go" She sings in the opening track. This is the kind you would listen to on a late night run. Again it almost gets you to that pinnacle of listening experience but somehow it is off.

Good Love opens with a 'funebre' synth style that is more 60's horror film sounding . Again so far this does not topple the standard set by "Daniel'. But what she lacks for musical consistency she compliments through her hypnotic narrative. "The house set fire to my heart.." Awesome.

Two Suns opens with a poetry but I forgot by whom. Anyway, again there's that poly-rhythm and ethnic feel. 

Travelling Woman has tempo akin to most songs present in Natalie Merchant's debut Tiger Lily. Again the melody is off. For some reason I suspect that Natasha Khan hates to sound sweet. 

Big Sleep is perhaps intended to be a lullaby. But that male vocal sounds like a disturbing attempt to sound Broadway. You don't want to listen to this on you way to sleep.

Overall, I still think that two Suns is a rewarding experience if your expectations are met. Her voice is superb and I think I prefer her's than Kate Bush. But unlike Kate Bush, Enya and Liz Fraser who carved the road behind them, Ms Khan has to work hard to prove herself. Otherwise she's just a second rate copy cat. 

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