Bat For Lashes
The Haunted Man
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 00:10
On the cover of Bat For Lashes’ The Haunted Man, Natasha Khan appears without makeup, wearing nothing but a necklace, hoisting a frail-looking naked man over her back.
This meeting of ultra-femininity and savage aggression exemplifies The Haunted Man, and Bat For Lashes herself.
Khan leads with “Lilies,” building to her reverent declaration, “Thank God I’m alive.” “Lilies” was the first song Khan wrote for The Haunted Man—a breakthrough from writer’s block—and it plays like a celebration of creation and beauty, with deep bass, Khan’s always gorgeous vocals, and lyrics exalting life’s savage beauty.
Khan then leaps into The Haunted Man’s catchiest song, “All Your Gold,” reminiscent of the percussion-heavy pop tunes lamenting painful love that filled Bat For Lashes’ first album Fur & Gold.
Khan worked on The Haunted Man with members of Radiohead, TV on the Radio, and Beck, as well as producer Dan Carey, who’s known for his work with badass pop ladies M.I.A. and Santigold. These lofty influences show in The Haunted Man’s layered richness with songs like “Horses In The Sun” blending the dark, eerie simplicity of Fur & Gold with the lighter feel of Bat For Lashes’ second album, Two Suns, and still feeling bigger than both.
The Haunted Man deserves multiple listens, floating naturally from ethereal quiet to gleeful chorus, with Bat For Lashes’ defining use of synths, percussion, and piano.
The biggest flaw is really its name; for an album from an artist known for creating haunting music, The Haunted Man is a surprisingly ecstatic shout of joy.