WEDNESDAY, APRIL 08, 2009|
With her sophomore release Two Suns (Astralwerks), Natasha Khan - aka Bat For Lashes - treads a similar course to the one she first plotted in her fairy-tale debut, Fur and Gold...though this time around the talismanic English songstress hired a bit of bass and beat expertise in Brooklyn's Yeasayer. Also on board (albeit somewhat surprisingly), legendary crooner Scott Walker stops by the recording, contributing a duet on the album's moody closer, "The Big Sleep". Impressive support. Just don't fail to recognize Two Suns as anything but a solo sort of effort.
Though there is much to offer in this, Khan's now familiar theatric persona (in this case, it's Pearl - her latest artistic, alter ego), at times Two Suns feels a little light, failing to deliver enough cosmetic enhancement over the full course of the album. Yes, there are musings of an otherworldly variety driving songs like "Glass" and "Pearls Dream". Look to feudal references to knights and battles and castles for evidence of their creator's highly mystic heart. The sheath of vocal arrangements that support most of these tunes is also impressive, drenching every pore like a spell-induced thunderstorm. And personally, I can't help but surrender myself over to the sexy sway of Suns' electro-lite single, "Daniel".
But Two Suns also brings with it too many lulled and dulled moments. "Good Love", "Moon and Moon", and "Two Planets"; I'm looking in your sedated direction...
To be fair, Khan is an awfully alluring presence when she hits her stride on Two Suns. And to call the album anything but a deviation from the usual cut and paste model of modern day pop music doesn't do it justice. Here music and identity walk hand in hand, dressed up in the kind of unusual trinkets that place Khan in the same artistic company as fellow pop-aholics Lykke Li and Goldfrapp.
Still, those moments where Khan fails to dangle her intricate bait for her dear audience are the moments where her music brushes dangerously close to the work of Tori Amos and even Sarah McLachlan. Not an entirely bad thing...but dangerous none the less. - David Pitz