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Bat For Lashes - Fur & Gold

Bat For Lashes, Fur and Gold

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

FUR & Gold is the stunning debut album from Bat For Lashes, aka former nursery school teacher Natasha Khan.

Inspired by tales of Joan of Arc and a particularly vivid dream, Natasha set about crafting an album of exquisite beauty – one that haunts and captivates in equal measure.

Her music is cinematic in scope, no doubt inspired by her degree in film and music, and in live form includes thunderous marching bands, desert guitar, ballet school piano, harpsichord, sub-bass snarls, hand-claps and naive beats.

Underpinning many of the tracks is a sombre piano – heartbreakingly beautiful but tellingly effective.

While Natasha’s mournful vocals emerge as a cross between the ethereal quality of Bjork and the fragile beauty of Imogen Heap.

Thematically, it embraces Natasha’s vivid imagination and tells of natural forces and animal kingdoms, rugged English cliff tops and engulfing oceans.

Opening track Horse And I was inspired by a dream involving a black horse at her window and unfolds in suitably mesmerising fashion – delicate chords hooking you from the outset before a marching band-style drum kicks in and Natasha’s voice transplants you into a different, magnificent world.

From that point onwards, as the lyrics themselves state, “there is no turning back” – you should be hooked.

Second track is the brooding live favourite Trophy, one of three tracks to feature the backing vocals and guitar of Josh T Pearson. Vocally, it’s very striking, thriving on the moody boy-girl trade-off, while the instrumentation is extremely atmospheric.

Sombre love song What’s A Girl To Do? is a gutsy lament about a dwindling passion that unfolds in curiously upbeat fashion – the beats are top-notch.

And they come in stark contrast to the achingly poignant Sad Eyes – a piano ballad that has reduced many fans to tears in live form. It’s supremely fragile and packed with sad but beautiful words.

Prescilla is another highlight, built around hand-clapping beats and more layered instrumentation that seems to work in perfect accompaniment to Natasha’s tender vocals – the chorus, in particular, is genuinely inspiring.

And Bat’s Mouth is another firm favourite, once again placing the piano to the fore to intoxicating effect, as well as some background strings.

Fur & Gold is nothing short of a stunning debut – an album as unique in style as it is breathtakingly brilliant. You can’t fail to be captivated by its charms.

Track listing:

  1. Horse And I
  2. Trophy
  3. Tahiti
  4. What’s A Girl To Do?
  5. Sad Eyes
  6. The Wizard
  7. Prescilla
  8. The Bat’s Mouth
  9. Seal Jubilee
  10. Sarah
  11. I Saw A Light