Album review: Bat For Lashes - The Bride
PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 July 2016
Composed from the point of view of a grieving bride, this is ‘leftfield pop par excellence’
Always an innovative and creatively adventurous artist with an evocative voice and impressive range, Natasha Khan’s BFL incarnation this time elopes into concept album territory.
Composed from the point of view of the eponymous bride, the writing’s on the wall by track two (‘What does it mean, the bad things that I’ve seen?’ she ponders ominously in Joe’s Dream over warm but faintly uneasy organ).
In God’s House delivers the news that her betrothed has died behind the wheel on the way to the chapel.
Khan’s voice remains poised and intoxicating as she recounts the tale to deep clangs and disorientating synth whirl.
Despite the recent vehicular tragedy she jumps in a car and honeymoons alone, driving through tears and grieving her loss in a swathe of hauntingly cool electro-pop and soaring, crystal-clear vocals (Sunday Love) and low-key, beautifully baleful ballads (Never Forgive The Angels, Close Encounters) that frankly make her whole fictitious ordeal worthwhile for us lot.
The concept trumps the song in Widow’s Peak’s ethereal dreamscape, but the final third sees Khan create some touchingly raw confessionals as the denied bride comes to terms with her loss (If I Knew is particularly touching) and starts to look to the future; soft-focus synths gently eddy and flow around a plangent bassline on I Will Love Again, before the healing concludes in closing track In Your Bed, an open-ended coda that can be read several ways, plumped up with a pleasing analogue/electro arrangement that leaves you hanging.
Rarely are such concepts executed with the panache and passion of The Bride - this is leftfield pop par excellence.
Rating: 4/5 Stars