"Horse And I" by Bat For Lashes
Anyone disappointed by Björk's recent Volta is encouraged to check out Bat For Lashes' debut, Fur And Gold, featuring chanteuse-in-the-making Natasha Khan. While not as accomplished an arranger or as adept with memorable (albeit nonsensical) lyrics, Khan has a similarly haunting vocal quality that makes comparisons to Iceland's favorite export an inevitability. Like Björk, the Pakistani-born, Brighton-bred Khan benefits from an otherworldliness that rescues her mournful gothic fairy tales—not to mention her feathered headbands—from being totally ludicrous, but her fascination with mysticism may prove exhausting for some, as one's tolerance for endless dark-night-in-the-forest songs depends mightily on one's willingness to be bewitched and beguiled. To its credit, the album's many standout moments should appeal to all lovers of noir, particularly the gently galloping "Trophy"; a surprisingly danceable "What's A Girl To Do?", coming off like the darkest song Broadcast never wrote; and "Bat's Mouth," which culminates in an ever-rising piano and vocal line that is the album's only truly joyous moment. Closing with a bonus cover of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" ends things on an uninspired, Tori Amos-like note, but by then, most will be too far under Khan's spell to notice.