‘The Haunted Man’ is the first album from Natasha Khan, better known as Bat For Lashes, in three years, following stunner ‘Two Suns’ in 2009- and it serves; an album entirely different from her previous work, yet connected through strings of whispery vocals and a unique sound she has maintained throughout her career.
‘All Your Gold’ plays out like an offcut from PJ Harvey’s back catalogue, merging ultra-feminine vocals with a harp sound which sounds fresh from an Amazonian tribe. The electronic sounds featured on ‘Oh Yeah’ are modern, almost futuristic, creating a sound unheard, proof that Khan has used her time wisely when creating this LP. Lead single ‘Laura’ is stripped back, emotive, a truly beautiful song which highlights the power of Khan’s voice as well as her songwriting skills.
The latter half of the album retains this high quality- ‘Winter Winds’ sounds much like a female Patrick Wolf, this modernised-classical number bringing warmth from its tone, colliding with the coldness of its lyrics. ‘A Wall’ is poppy but delicate, almost lo-fi if it wasn’t for the rattling electronic drum beat which dominates the track. The lullaby opening of ‘Rest Your Head’, is, almost disappointingly, deceptive, as it moves into another electro-pop potential single, much like ‘A Wall’– it is a shame; at this point in the album, a relaxed, gentle composition would have suited the motherly lyrics. There is a grand finale by way of ‘Deep Sea Diver’ compiling the many elements of this album that make Bat For Lashes one of the more daring acts of the past ten years. Needless to say, ‘The Haunted Man’ is a delight to listen to and exactly what is needed on these chilly nights.