Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bat For Lashes - Fur And Gold

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The Bat For Lashes album was released in September 2006…Ok, so we can’t be on top of things all the time can we? Especially on a budget. The thing is you see, if I’d actually listened to this album before the end of 2006 this would have undoubtedly been top 10 in my albums of the year list…and more than likely would have gate crashed the top 5. Now normally I wouldn’t even bother to review it so late in the day on my website, but believe me when I say ladies and gentlemen, this deserves to be an exception to the unwritten rule.

The hype gave everyone the bullet point references; a bit of Bjork, a sprinkling of Kate Bush…and whilst those are comparisons that are certainly not off the mark, the end product is something that is so much better than labelling the “new” anything.

It was the Phil Spector stylings of “What’s A Girl To Do” that first turned me onto Natasha Khan (aka Bat For Lashes). It’s 60’s tinged pop melody combined with its spoken word vocal to create something that you rarely get from a record these days, an atmosphere. And this is something that carries on throughout the album. If the Arctic Monkeys give us a witty real-life insight into modern-day Yorkshire life, Bat For Lashes transport us to another world entirely. A mystical, ethereal one that draws you in repeatedly until you are lost in the gothic, almost fairytale world that is created.

Of course it may be sounding all a little too far “out there” for it’s own good, but fear not. Khan may take us on this otherworldly journey, but she has the good grace to accompany it with some sublime sing-a-long choruses and catchy melodies. Particular highlights include Trophy (again with Khan’s narrative vocals), Horse & I and I Saw A Light. But really, this is not an album to skip tracks on, this is an album to immerse yourself in from start to finish. It really is that good.

And let me get on my Lily Allen/Pipettes bandwagon early this year. If this isn’t nominated for the Mercury Music Prize I shall be very cross indeed.

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