I really wanted to like Bat for Lashes upon the release of her 2006 debut ‘Fur and Gold’.
She stood out from her peers with her unpretentious originality and her ghostly voice – however ‘Fur and Gold’ was only a patchily good album, not a great one. An onslaught of sailing notes with no real destination gave the album an unfinished feel and although her talent was evident, the album didn’t show it off enough. With Two Suns however BFL (aka Natasha Khan) has created somewhat of a masterpiece, and all is forgiven.
Dancing with the theme of duality, BFL explores two worlds, two lovers and two personalities, introducing us to her alter ego Pearl. Such a strong concept can appear hammy and runs the risk of taking focus off the music itself, but instead Pearl allows BFL to sing songs that would otherwise seem uncharacteristic. There are definite Bjork and PJ Harvey elements to the album, but Khan deserves her own recognition as an influencer, and surprises us more then once. ‘Peace of Mind’ is a fantastical renaissance-style gospel track that could be sung by no one else. Tribal and cosmic elements litter the opener ‘Glass’, and ‘Sleep Alone’ has a touch of Roisin Murphy about it.
If there are any faults to mention perhaps the album slumps slightly towards the end. However, even ‘Two Suns’ duller moments shine well above the best material of her peers. Final track ‘The Big Sleep’ is a rare duet with Scott Walker. His phantom-like voice dances with Khan’s beautifully and is the perfect ending to the album. There have been many singers looking to inherit Kate Bush’s crown of a chanteuse for the wonderfully weird. Until now none have come close, but you suspect Bat for Lashes however may be the heiress to that throne.