Album: Bat For Lashes, The Haunted Man (Parlophone)


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The Independent Culture

There are moments on The Haunted Man when Natasha Khan's carefully-marshalled musical forces evoke exactly the right ambience for songs pivoting on the notion of renewal.

But sometimes the recurrent mood of ecstatic affirmation of life that's evident in her singing can be short-changed by arrangements that fuss to no great purpose, dissipating their impact in brittle beats and pointless detail. There's some great stuff here – with its woodwind, organ and tympani, the snowy fantasia of emotion “Winter Fields” could be an outtake from Kate Bush's 50 Words For Snow; but the shortcomings elsewhere are thrown into sharp relief by the single “Laura”, which boasts the simplicity and structural strength lacking on the fiddlier tracks.

Download: Laura; Winter Fields; Lilies