Bat For Lashes: Two Suns

Bat For Lashes: Two Suns

 

B+

Bat For Lashes

Album: Two Suns
Label: Astralwerks
B+

Bat For Lashes

Album: Two Suns
Label: Astralwerks

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With her sophomore album, Two Suns, witchy woman Natasha Khan (a.k.a. Bat For Lashes) crafts an alter ego named Pearl—described as “a destructive, self-absorbed, blonde, femme fatale… who acts as a direct foil to Khan’s more mystical, desert-born spiritual self.” That sort-of Sandy Shaman vs. Sasha Fierce dichotomy provides the through-line for the album’s musings on duality. Such pretensions will be nothing new for fans of Khan’s cosmically charmed sleeper debut, Fur And Gold, but they also shouldn’t put off neophytes: Khan’s sublime voice easily distracts from any lyrical ponderousness, and it lends even lines about “diamonds burning through rainbows” a dreamy sort of sense. On Two Suns, that voice is grounded in rolling thunderclouds of electronic drums and washes of sizzling keyboards—many from her fellow knob-twiddling tribesmen in Yeasayer, who set the tone with the beat-heavy ballast of the gripping opener “Glass”—and these weightier arrangements serve Khan’s gossamer tendencies well, as do cameos from an “all-gay, all-black” choir on the hazy gospel number “Peace Of Mind,” and the vampiric turn from creepy crooner Scott Walker on the Grand Guignol-esque closer “The Big Sleep.” In fact, it’s only when Khan is left to her own piano-and-purr devices that she wanders off into cloying preciousness (like the Tori Amos clone “Moon And Moon”), and even then, the solid Steve Nicks-ish standalone synth-pop number “Daniel” is just beyond the veil.

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