Bat For Lashes, The Bride

The English singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Natasha Khan better known as Bat for Lashes has released her fourth album, The Bride. 

By Jane Howkins

Bat for Lashes (the brainchild of singer-songwriter Natasha Khan) recently released a fourth album, called The Bride. The title refers to the fact that this is a concept album, focusing around a bride and a tragedy that occurs on her wedding day, namely that her fiancée dies in a car crash on his way to the wedding. The bride then continues on her honeymoon alone, with the album following her on the melancholic journey, which in Khan’s own words is a ‘metaphor…for love in general.’

As with most concept albums, this sets the tone for the whole album, with it having a somewhat pessimistic feel to it. However, Khan is not known for being the cheeriest of songwriters, and this is probably to be expected anyway from one of her records, as current fans will already know. The twelve songs presented here are certainly emotional affairs, and could almost also be described as experiences in themselves, with feelings of loss and grief immediate and the tail-end of the album revealing a slightly different side to the bride, with musings on self-discovery and self-reflection becoming apparent, leaving an almost optimistic (or at least realistic) twist to proceedings.

One criticism to level at The Bride is that there aren’t as many ‘stand out’ tracks as you would normally expect from such an album. Whilst Bat for Lashes albums have always been aspirant, and each one has seen Khan pushing musical boundaries, The Bride is a lot harder to get into. There’s no Moon and Moon or Laura here, both tracks that whilst ethereal, also managed to have a degree of accessibility to them. Land’s End and Sunday Love come close (and are probably two of the tracks to listen to first for people coming late to the Bat for Lashes party), but they’re still very different. The Bride is an album that needs to be listened to in full and absorbed, rather than shuffled with little attention paid to its contents.

This is definitely Khan’s most ambitious project yet, and whilst it is a lot less accessible than her previous efforts, keep with it and eventually it will stick – there is a rather good album hiding underneath the heavy concept.