Bat For Lashes Execute 80s Escapism to Perfection
Time to get your VHS copy of E.T out of the basement - Bat For Lashes might just be the best 80s retro band out there at the moment.
Some artists just fit into the whole 80s revival genre effortlessly. Vintage synths, saxophone solos and gated reverb have never been further away from cheesy than with Lost Girls by Bat For Lashes. Maybe because those tools are at the root of a baroque electro-pop sound that’s been brewing for over a decade. Natasha Khan’s ever-changing approach to music started with Fur and Gold (2007)’s lascivious chamber-folk: the seeds of her 5th album were already planted by then – an astonishing soprano, an overactive imagination, and colorful instrumentation. Comparisons with Kate Bush came one after the other. These days, it might be easier to reference contemporaries such as CHVRCHES or Ladytron, thanks to her recognizable synth groove signature.
However, that first comparison still stands today, despite some stylistic changes. Bush and Khan have the same propensity for ambivalence: the ambiguity of desire, or melancholy and feminine strength, in addition to being a major theme for both singers, is manifested through tasteful vocal nuance that allows each to glide between whispers and sky-high melodies. The voices on Lost Girls are characterized by that same sense of restraint, but the instrumentation doesn’t necessarily follow in the same stride. For example, on the barely camouflaged sexual allegory of The Hunger (supposedly about vampires …), Khan combines the majesty of a reverb-drenched organ with a syncopated funk bass line, communicating a very on-point sense of urgency. As far as albums go, this one is enjoyably retro, bringing the listener far away from 2019 and any socio-political turmoil. Some much-needed escapism for “interesting” times. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz