BAT FOR LASHES – Two Suns (2009)

Bat For Lashes - Two Suns I’m sorry, Shara Worden. I am. Really. But your magnificent performance as The Queen in The Decemberists’ latest album, The Hazards of Love, has just been bested by Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes) in her latest album, Two Suns. Now, don’t be alarmed if you haven’t heard of the band/Khan before. Their debut album, Fur and Gold, was quietly released in 2006, and although received a decent amount of praise, it has (unfortunately) remained largely in obscurity.

I’ll be willing to wager that Bat For Lashes won’t remain there for much longer. Two Suns is the kind of album that comes across rarely: the kind that is entirely captivating from beginning end, and the kind that’s not afraid to casually let musical greatness unfurl at almost every turn. Siren Song begins with little more than Khan’s voice (and yes, she can most certainly carry a song across with that alone), and crests/recedes steadily to an explosive percussion driven climax, and the deliberate organ in the beginning of Good Love slowly gets lost in a too-beautiful-for-words dream pop fog. None of this is expected or hinted at. And even though I’ve just described, you still will not see it coming.

But all of this is ignoring the greatest strength of the album: Khan’s mesmerizing voice. When she effortlessly nails the high notes in the album opener, Glass, you’d swear that Tarja Turunen had just just stepped behind the mic for a moment. But no. It’s Khan, and she pulls off this range leap with remarkable ease. The timbre of her voice is always changing; it’s the definition of enigmatic. Sometimes (as on Moon and Moon), she sounds like some smoke-thin vesper channeling Fiona Apple, and other times (Peace of Mind), she’s innocent and playful, like a more soulful Joanna Newsom It is, quite simply, a fascinating thing to behold.

I’d recommend this album to, well, pretty much anyone. I get the distinct feeling that I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the album. Indeed, there’s a lot I haven’t said about it here: the ecstatic tribal percussion provided by member of Yeasayer, the awesome gospel dirge in Peace of Mind, the surprisingly danceable nature of many of the songs (single Daniel and Pearl’s Dream), and, of course, the much-publicized duet with Scott Walker on the album’s closer The Big Sleep. But really, I hit home the fact that this is a fucking incredible album. And that’s really all that counts.

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2 Responses to “BAT FOR LASHES – Two Suns (2009)”

  1. […] Fantasies might not stand out as much as some other albums that have been released this year (like Two Suns, and Bromst), it’s a consistent album that never takes a wrong turn or tries to push itself […]

  2. […] HOUSE – Teen Dream (2010) Last year, Bat For Lashes set the new standard for modern dream pop with Two Suns; now, perhaps there are some people out […]

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