The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Emily Ritchie

The Bride Bat for Lashes Par­lophone/Warner Natasha Khan, bet­ter known as Bat for Lashes, has a flair for melodic sto­ry­telling. Over the past decade, the Pak­istani-born, English elec­tronic pop singer-song­writer has cul­ti­vated a niche with her abil­ity to fashion tan­gi­ble land­scapes and com­mu­ni­cate rich nar­ra­tives through her un­con­ven­tional mu­sic. In 2006 Khan was a pop­synth hip­pie with feath­ers in her hair. In 2009 she be­came Pearl, the hy­per-fem­i­nine, blonde al­ter-ego who in­hab­ited her sec­ond album, Two Suns. She then posed naked on the cover of The Haunted Man (2012), car­ry­ing a nude man over her shoul­der like game meat. Her lat­est re­lease so­lid­i­fies this intrinsic the­atri­cal­ity. Writ­ten as the sound­track to an imag­ined film, The Bride is a care­fully wo­ven con­cep­tual ta­pes­try that tells the story of a woman left at the al­tar af­ter her fi­ance dies. She then trav­els alone on her honey­moon and at­tempts to rec­on­cile her life. It is a com­plex por­trayal of grief, so­ci­etal pres­sures and wom­an­hood, en­cased in piano whim­pers, dis­torted strings, elec­tronic haze and Khan’s sta­ple so­prano vo­cals. It is a dis­tinc­tive and am­bi­tious project, with tracks I Do, In God’s House and Sun­day Love nav­i­gat­ing a broad range of emo­tions and melodic pat­terns. At times the vo­cals are too harsh against the stripped-back ac­com­pa­ni­ment, be­com­ing shrill, mo­not­o­nous noise. It is also a shame that, in an album in­tended to take lis­ten­ers on a jour­ney, some lyrics are hard to dis­cern amid the strained so­prano. Khan has never been a con­ven­tional mu­si­cian. The Bride makes it clear that pre­dictable is some­thing she will never be.

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