Fur And GoldNext up in this blog theme week: Bat For Lashes‘ album Fur and Gold [July 2007]. You would have had to listen to a lot of late night radio to catch a Bat For Lashes song as there’s hardly any airplay over here, oddly enough the way I came across this find was much more mundane: good old MTV! Yes indeed. In between the hours and hours of brain numbing drivel about American high school kids turning sixteen/ getting drunk/ being made into a dancer/ telling their parents they’re gay/ getting plastic surgery to look like Christina Aguilera/ getting their car turned into something similar to what my Barbie used to drive/ dressing up and attempting to sing like Christina Aguilera, there is one last saving grace that occasionally restores my faith in this dying channel: the Brand New chart.

It was there I saw this exotic looking girl with a sparkly sweater riding a small bicycle in the dark, joined by several fairy tale creatures (is that Frank, the rabbit from Donnie Darko I see?), politely pleading for advice: “When you’ve loved so long, that the thrill is gone, and your kisses at night are replaced with tears (…) What’s a girl to do?”.

What’s A Girl To Do:

(Did you start singing “be my baby” at the start too?)

I was immediately intrigued. Who is this girl? As it turns out her name is Natasha Khan, a 27 year old songwriter from Brighton. I thought perhaps it would be one of those one-off songs that catch you by surprise, but after listening to the album a couple of times I really like it. It’s full of songs with sparse, other worldly arrangements, handclaps and whooooo-backing vocals that often create a creepy atmosphere, as if they were made especially as a soundtrack for walking around a dark forest with who-knows-what lurking behind the trees. The lyrics are entirely in keeping with this atmosphere, with tales of talking animals, wizards and bats.

Natasha’s airy, slightly sad voice sometimes reminds you of Björk (the way she sings “creatures of mercy” in Trophy immediately brings of one of Björk’s unintelligible yelps in Venus As A Boy to my mind), then turns more towards Tori Amos (“Tahiti we don’t got no name, Tahiti we don’t got no home”), but definitely has enough character of its own to stay interesting. I particularly like the spoken bits, but I could imagine that’s not to everyone’s taste.

Prescilla :

There are weaker songs on the album too, such as I Saw A Light and Seal Jubilee, but in my opinion it doesn’t dampen the surprising and magical experience of this refreshing record.
Here are a few more of the standout tracks on the album, see if she can cast her spell on you too:
Horse And I   
The Wizard