Khan has never shied away from tackling big themes and ideas.Label: Parlophone
Released: July 1st 2016
Weddings are stressful occasions. Someone might forget the rings or the cake might not be delivered. These can be inconveniences, but most don’t turn into the sinister, dark hearted odyssey that Natasha Khan describes on her fourth Bat For Lashes album.
‘The Bride’ tells the story of the jilted bride on her wedding day. The day turns into tragedy though before she embarks on a journey of discovery and redemption. Khan has always been an artist adept at telling stories and creating affecting imagery but here she ramps it up to the next level.
This is very much a concept album in both theme and sound. The sound is subtle, brooding and intense throughout. But it’s also frequently beautiful and a confidence rings out in the songs and the performance. From the fluttering, gentle lullaby of ‘I Do’ to the dreamy and reflective ‘Honeymooning Alone’, which begins with a car screeching away carrying the fleeing bride, the album tells a compelling tale. “Where’s my boy, why would he lie and leave me here in this church to cry,” sings Khan as she takes on the character of the confused and emotional bride.
As the album progresses things take on a weirder, darker tone encompassing everything from extra terrestrial relations, spiritual awakenings and intense relationship reflections. It all adds up the most ambitious Bat For Lashes album yet.
There isn’t much here that could be considered a pop hit, aside from the airy and upbeat ‘Sunday Love’. This is an album that doesn’t need to fall back on bangers though. Khan has never shied away from tackling big themes and ideas and her reflection on the sacred and complex institution of marriage is a rich, developed work that befits the grand theme of the concept. Martyn Young