posted on February 15, 2010 18:00
A review of the album 'Two Suns' by Bat for Lashes
Review Snapshot: ‘Two Suns’, released by Bat for Lashes in April 2009, was recently nominated for a Brit award. From the first song a haunting sound, almost hymnal at times, is created. It's not an initial jaw dropper of an album however it will grow on you. Soon enough you’ll find yourself wandering around humming the songs off this album unknowingly. Lyrically beautiful and musically underrated, it is deserving of much more praise than it has received. An album that rightly propels this songstress into the limelight.
The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10
Full Review: Bat for Lashes is a one woman show; Natasha Khan is the singer/ songwriter and multi instrumentalist behind the name and she recently received a much deserved nomination for Best British Female Solo Act at the 2010 Brit awards. ‘Two Suns’ - her second album - was released back in April 2009 and slowly, but surely, has been rising in popularity. I’ve grown to love it over the last nine months and the recent Brit nomination is my excuse to review it now.
Inspired by her travels and composed across the globe - from the Joshua Tree desert in California to the hills of the Welsh Country side to the hustle and bustle of New York and London - ‘Two Suns’ invites us to join the protagonist on her travels from a cityscape to a countryscape which is particularly evident from ‘Two Planets’ and ‘Travelling Woman’. The album begins softly with ‘Glass’ as she immediately draws us into the haunting atmosphere that envelops it and doesn’t stray far from this temperament throughout. Voice is Khan's primary instrument, it inviting us into her world from the get-go with a soft vulnerability that enthrals the listener. The opener begins acapella, draws us in hook line and sinker (“I will rise now / And go about the city”).
‘Daniel’ is relatively up tempo in comparison to the rest of the album. My favourite song, I even found myself singing the chorus over and over again not just to myself but to strangers with that name. The first single release, it is about her childhood crush, Daniel LaRusso from the Karate Kid.
She talks a lot throughout of Pearl, her alter ego. She distances herself from this character while at the same time acknowledging that Pearl is one side of her personality. Again this mirrors her city/ country scape juxtaposition. ‘Siren Song’ and ‘Pearl’s Dream’ - both of which have Pearl as their protagonist - are lyrically beautiful, portraying the sense of loneliness, longing and bewilderment that oftentimes accompanies one on their travels.
The final song on the album, ‘The Big Sleep’, features Scott Walker and the only instrument is a piano. It has a hymnal quality to it (as does much of the album) and leaves the listener back to where they started.
I thoroughly enjoyed this album however it’s a grower. Upon first listen it is quite forgettable but once it has been through the CD player a few times it will be very difficult to take out. The haunting sound of Natasha Khan's voice, consistent throughout the album, has what it takes to give the willing listener a healthy bit of escapism.
With the recent Brit nomination received by Bat for Lashes it seems that Khan's efforts as a composer, vocalist and instrumentalist haven’t gone unnoticed. With any luck she will gather some attention and praise, much deserved.