Album Review: Bat For Lashes - The Bride

27 June 2016 | 4:23 pm | Tyler McLoughlan

"It takes guts to produce a record of such thematic ambition."

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With sweet, hopeful strings, Natasha Khan, aka Bat For Lashes, opens the story arc of The Bride with I Do to explore the nuptial notion of waiting to be rescued or made whole by another.

Ultimately her fourth album is a character-based concept record — sequenced with the flow of a film or novel — that is forced by the tragedy of screeching wheels in Honeymooning Alone to choose self-love and independence over codependency. At the height of the fallout amidst Sunday Love, driving rhythms are punctuated by bright electronic and harp flourishes, and the drama of Khan's ever-present breathy vocal underlines the bride's current emotional state. The listener is following not only her grieving process through the tracklist — Never Forgive The Angels plunges into a hymn-like wallowing before joy and gratitude explode through the discordant string samples of vocal highlight Close Encounters — but most importantly her personal and spiritual journey. The magic of storytelling and the gypsy-folk instrumentation that has so beguiled Khan's fanbase is emphasised in the spoken word Widow's Peak — a slight throwback in vibe to Fur And Gold's Sarah

It takes guts to produce a record of such thematic ambition, and Khan has pushed her dreamy alternative musical soundscapes to another level too. What may be lost in the immediacy of her previous records (and particularly singles) is gained through accompanying literary and visual elements — a whole world in which to perhaps explore your own beliefs, in a hugely imaginative way.