Ethereal vocals and exploratory melodies characterise the sound of Two Suns, the second album by the Brighton-based Natasha Khan, otherwise known as Bat for Lashes. A touch afflicted by Eighties atmospherics, this much-anticipated release manages to push Khan's voice past hapless synthesizers and drum machines into an experimental playground that captures the true spirit of alternative music. Strains of Björk's untamed calls echo in Glass and Two Planets - the resultant sound lyrically heavy and acoustically light - while ballads such as Siren Song and Moon and Moon evoke the sound of the disillusioned Nineties, over which Fiona Apple and Tori Amos held sway. The ever-shifting line of sojourners that back Khan's ethereal voice wield, among other instruments, the harpsichord, zither, piano and glockenspiel, which creates a haunting, cosmic aesthetic, supported by the bass and beat programming of the experimental band Yeasayer. One envisions Edgar Allen Poe composing his works to such music, looping the eerily romantic duet with Scott Walker on The Big Sleep as he pens The Fall of the House of Usher. Despite her ponderous tendencies, Khan has said that her background as a visual artist working with sound installations, animation and performances compels her to compose music from a mental space steeped in colour, characters and visual landscapes. Here's to a continuous reel, then.
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