Ever since unleashing her magical debut album ‘Fur And Gold’ – and subsequently attracting encouraging praise from the likes of Thom Yorke and M.I.A. – Bat For Lashes lynchpin Natasha Khan has had fans desperate for another glimpse into her psych-folk other world. And now that opportunity arrives.
‘Two Suns’ opens with a windswept mini epic entitled ‘Glass’, which comes on like a curious nursery rhyme merged with exotic clashes, bleeps and chants. Though many a song here leans towards electro territories, between these are beautiful piano ballads like ‘Moon And Moon’ and ‘Siren Song’, rich in delicate organ arrangements and fragile, earnest vocal turns from Khan.
The album also features experiments with new sounds: ‘Peace Of Mind’ is set against fuzzy electronics and twangs, backed by a gospel choir, while members of Yeasayer guest on a number of tracks lending said songs an earthy, almost tribal quality. While Khan doesn’t stray too far from the template of her debut on a handful of familiar-feeling numbers, this is ultimately a small complaint, as taken as a whole ‘Two Suns’ is the call of a woman struggling with herself and her place in love and life.
‘Two Suns’ showcases new maturity, a fire and confidence differentiating it from the sleeve-worn influences of her debut. A duet with Scott Walker, ‘The Big Sleep’, closes the album. It’s a perfectly judged and placed song: one, it’s a ghostly song about fading voices, and two, you couldn’t really follow a song that the hermetic vocal legend guests on, could you?
Björk comparisons are inevitable, but while Khan’s vocals do have sporadic twangs comparable to the Icelandic legend, her music is much more organic than the ethereal electro of said potential peer. Like Kate Bush before her, Khan creates uncompromising, heartbreaking music that sits in a singular, eerie landscape. It’s a joy that she lets us in.