Natasha Khan revels in the unusual and the antiquated. The Bride, her fourth full-length in her guise of Bat for Lashes, is a tale of macabre beauty and tragedy.
Languid, ghostly movements possess these songs, which tell the story of a bride who is left at the alter when her husband-to-be dies while en route to the church. Khan has now begun the process of turning the story into a short film, and it’s not hard to see why: a succinct narrative – death (‘Honeymooning Alone’), mourning (‘Widow’s Peak’) and healing (‘I Will Love Again’) – is communicated to you through lucid, haunting lyrics (“Even though I’m falling apart / I want Sunday love / In my heart”) and the hypnotic instrumentals (‘Close Encounters’).
Khan, a three-time Mercury Prize nominee, is obsessed by the craft of music-making. Her previous work, from her marriage of mournful piano chords and swirling synthetic tones (‘In God’s House’) to her work on the challenging, yet thoroughly artful, Sexwitch project, speaks volumes.
Up until now, Khan’s work has been considered too “arty” for some. Yes, The Bride is arty, grand and melancholic – but it is not just for the “music intelligentsia”. This is Khan’s most focused, most expressive album yet. It casts an unbroken spell over you with its contemplative sounds and poetic images of doomed romance. The real tragedy would be not to give yourself the chance to fall in love with this artistic virtuoso.
The Bride is out now on Parlophone Records.