In the three and a half years since Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) released Two Suns, her brand of vaguely goth chamber pop has taken off—just ask Florence + the Machine, Zola Jesus, or Grimes. Those ladies are wonderful, of course, but we’ve missed Bat for Lashes’ singularly weird beauty. On her third album, The Haunted Man, Khan’s talent is out in full force. Opener “Lilies” kicks things off with an operatic, string-laced bang that recalls Kate Bush, the O.G. chamber-pop icon. The tribal-inflected “Horses of the Sun” is sinister and uplifting, with Khan channeling her inner Bonnie Parker on lyrics like, “You and me, we’re wanted on the run.” While the first single “Laura” is gorgeous, it’s the only true ballad on the record. Title track “The Haunted Man” begins as a slow, vocal-centered torch song that turns into a full-on dance number as layers of snare drums and menacing backup singers pile on top of a pulsing synth beat. This is where Bat for Lashes deviates from her peers—just when things sound too poppy, she adds some Gregorian-esque chant to the mix to make things interesting. If Khan’s work sometimes comes off as too polished, it’s only because she seems to place every note, sound, and lyric meticulously. If it takes her another three years to make a follow-up to The Haunted Man, then so be it. No doubt it will be worth the wait.


Bat for Lashes | The Haunted Man, $9.99,


AubreyPlaza-smallThis review appears in the Oct/Nov 2012 issue of BUST Magazine with cover girl Aubrey Plaza. Subscribe now.


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