October seemed to have brought about a month full of album releases for the year of the 2012; from Tame Impala, The Wallflowers, Freelance Whales, Muse, Matt & Kim, A Fine Frenzy, and more. One album that seems to be causing a great deal of resonance is the third studio album from English multi-instrumentalist and singer, Natasha Khan (under the moniker, Bat for Lashes). Her new album, The Haunted Man, is her first album since her 2009 release, Two Suns. While Two Suns took the route of soft and sweet- while being lavishly sensual, The Haunted Man is stripped bare and is much more intimate. Bat for Lashes eclectic mixture of sweet vocal tones, tinkling percussion, and low octave synths come together to make the shadowy atmosphere.
While, some albums have the ability to sound completely effortless; The Haunted Man sounds like effort bursting from the seams. Kahn’s pure, raw feeling is beyond successfully received through equally raw ambition. Bat for Lashes’ polished blend of art rock and electro-pop carries echoes of the likes of new wave luminaries, the Cure— gleaming with autoharp, strings, and a continuing exploration of electronics and synthesizers. Boldly orchestrated, and emotionally rich, The Haunted Man is one of the year’s most mesmeric albums.
Each track is “naked” in its own way. The title track has an essence like that of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair”— with a marching male choir in its context. M83’s David Sitek assisted the creation of the lyrically life-affirming opener, “Lilies” The most overtly naked track on the album is, “Laura,” the first single. It is also the most awe-inspiring. With a gentle piano and voice arrangement, this goose bump-inducing track is the clearest example of how Bat for Lashes floats between beautiful lyrical sincerity and pop-oriented up-beats. We’ll never know Laura, really, but through Kahn’s picturesque tale-telling we can feel what it might be like to know her.
For more on Bat for Lashes and her music: