Compelling and unconventional with a memorable voice, 33 year old Natasha Khan has been likened to Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos and Bjork. However Khan, more commonly known as Bat For Lashes, is carving her own track with her emotive, and sometimes theatrical but never ordinary, indie-pop/dream-pop songs.
Khan had produced three albums since 2006: ‘Fur and Gold‘; ‘Two Suns‘; and last year’s ‘The Haunted Man‘. What I love about her music is that it’s unpredictable and catchy all at the same time. There is a jubilance, an exhilarating freedom, in many of the choruses to her songs that grabs you unexpectantly (especially given the raw subject-matter). Khan’s voice is the centrepiece of everything and its authentic quality holds us steady amongst the noise – the stirring orchestral strings, the all-male backing choirs, the emergence of unusual instrumental sounds that are purely electronic in origin. And, somehow, it all seems to work.
Khan’s last album ‘The Haunted Man’ is more sparse and pared-back than the previous two. The song ‘Laura’ reflects this – Khan’s voice is supported simply by piano, as deliberately naked as the album’s cover artwork.
‘All Your Gold’ is another highlight and a nice take on the word ‘gold’.
Bat for Lashes is probably best known for her song ‘Daniel’ from 2009’s ‘Two Suns’. Khan has said of this song that it reflects the music she listened to growing up, and it certainly has a strong 80’s pop sensibility.
A fitting track to end with is the last song from Khan’s beguiling and mystical debut album. Not sure what The Boss thinks but to quote an oft-used phrase of music-reality show judges: ‘she’s totally made it her own.’
Ha! Was only speaking of her the other day after hearing her at Laneway. Nice stuff!