Sun and Moon

Posted: April 13, 2009 by Mike Estabrook in BLARE -- music, POP - pop culture
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Bat for Lashes (Natasha Khan) sounds like the sun and the moon. On her second album, Two Suns, Khan blends fiery passion with ethereal tones to create what I call a “solar chill.” Each track features Khan’s delicate voice against both erratic and subdued atmospheres, fleshing out her anything-but-earthly nature.

                             

Khan’s transition from sparse echo to multi-instrument backed falsetto on “Glass” sets the pace for Two Suns‘ duality.

The gothic rattle-and-bounce of “Sleep Alone” is reminiscent of Fur and Gold‘s dark themes. It also introduces ’80s synth, a new addition to Khan’s sound arsenal.

But, Khan keeps it simple on “Moon and Moon,” with an icy piano ballad that doesn’t need layers to be affecting.

The strongest track, “Daniel,” makes use of ’80s synth again. Critics have compared this track to Kate Bush. Don’t mistake its creepy coolness for heavy subject matter, though. It’s an ode to Daniel LaRusso from The Karate Kid.

“Peace of Mind” finds Khan getting gospel, in a very Bat for Lashes way. Surrounded by gloomy strums, tambourine shakes and accompanying choir, this track would be perfect for a horribly sad congregation.

Downtrodden pianos and contrasting power chorus in “Siren Song” show Khan’s urge to be both graceful and explosive. 

Otherworldly hues with a mix of hand-claps and jittery drum beats on “Pearl’s Dream” are Khan’s best examples of freakish pop.

Another great track, “Good Love,” meshes skittering pianos, Khan’s ghostly voice and foreboding walls of sound and thumps.

 The two closing tracks, “Travelling Woman” and “The Big Sleep,” express the opposing sides of Khan. They both rely on pianos but they couldn’t be more disparate. The standard yet crisply gorgeous “Travelling Woman” is as conventional as Khan can get. However, the deathly “The Big Sleep” relies more on horror-fantasy than balladry.

The lyric, “I am part of two planets dancing,” from “Two Planets” gets Bat for Lashes just right. Khan may present far-ranging material, but it all is equally engrossing, whether she invokes the sun or the moon.

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