The Haunted ManAlbum |
Feels like artistic, if not personal, rebirth.
I don't know what exactly Natasha Khan has gotten up to since the 2009 release of Bat For Lashes' second album. But lyrics like the exultant "Thank God I'm alive" in the opening "Lilies" and the less-than-subtle cover photo of a nude Khan wearing a similarly unclothed man like a feather boa suggests that whatever it was, she felt the need for an artistic, if not personal, rebirth. The Haunted Man is an entirely successful one, at that: lyrically and musically, it's of a piece with both Two Suns and its predecessor Fur and Gold, but distilled to a purer form. Musically, the arrangements are slightly more stark, Khan's piano and electronics given only the occasional orchestral or exotica accent. Similarly, some of the lyrics are a bit more plain-spoken, as on the conflicted-attraction tale "All Your Gold," although elsewhere, Khan's predilection for ornate metaphors remains. First single "Laura," a gorgeous, piano-driven song of devotion with perhaps Khan's most impassioned and direct vocal ever, is the album's clear highlight, but even at nearly 52 minutes, the album as a whole feels lean and newly focused.