Review: Bat for Lashes

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

You can see why Bat for Lashes gal Natasha Khan has spoken so enthusiastically about the book Women Who Run with the Wolves. It's a series of ancient folk stories designed to return women to their feral, wild selves—and its strange, nocturnal images resonated through the songs on Khan's acclaimed 2006 debut, Fur and Gold.

A lot has changed since then: Khan traded her kindergarten teaching job for tours with Radiohead (Thom Yorke is a big fan), and relocated from Brighton, U.K., to Brooklyn, where she stayed for two years ("a huge influence," she says). So it makes sense that this new album ups the electronica, and has a sheenier, more expansive (and expensive) sound. But you only have to glance at the cover, which has Khan in glittery body makeup surrounded by candles, to see that the four-pawed earthiness remains.

"Where's my bear to lick me clean?" she coos on "Moon and Moon," accompanied by simple piano chords and scratchy backing vocals. Like Hounds of Love--era Kate Bush, Khan sings of imagined worlds with such conviction that one is whisked off into the same dream, where emerald cities and dancing planets don't seem like that big a deal. It helps, of course, that Khan's pretty, breathy voice is offset by some tribal drum thwacking, courtesy of Brooklyn's Yeasayer. The album's other high-profile guest is the reclusive Scott Walker, who joins Khan on the wobbly closer, "The Big Sleep"—proving that while Khan may be a significantly bigger deal these days, she's still every bit as wild-eyed.

Bat for Lashes plays Bowery Ballroom Apr 30 and Music Hall of Williamsburg May 2.

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