Bat For Lashes: The Haunted Man

Bat For Lashes
The Haunted Man
(The Echo Label)

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Bat For Lashes’ latest album, The Haunted Man, is a noticeable step forward.

As one of the few indie songwriters today that can cobble together multiple influences into an interesting and creative whole, Natasha Kahn has delivered a batch of songs that combine retro new wave elements with tribal rhythms and marvelous vocal passages.

Her last album, Two Suns, was seen by many as insurmountable, but where that record’s pacing was often bogged down by a few too many bland piano ballads, Haunted Man keeps things going.

The epic build of “Lilies” and the infectious groove of “All Your Gold” start the album out strong. The sparse piano ballad, “Laura,” is a striking centerpiece, possibly one of Kahn’s best vocal performances.

The title track is an example of some clever and unexpected arrangements, with it’s sudden middle break featuring steadily building drums and a male choir. Later album cuts like “Marilyn” and “Rest Your Head” boast soaring choruses amid a heavy new wave aesthetic.

I was nervous that Bat For Lashes was on the verge of wearing out its welcome, but it seems they’re just getting started. The Haunted Man is a nicely diverse and engaging entry in what will hopefully be an extended stay.

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About John Mordecai

John Mordecai is a musician and writer from New Haven, Conn. He was the bassist for Brooklyn-based ERAAS (formerly APSE), and also plays (sometimes) in New England-based Shark and Brooklyn's The Tyler Trudeau Attempt. He also maintains a blog (sometimes) at http://selfsensored.wordpress.com/
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