After more than three years since her Mercury Prize-shortlisted sophomore record ‘Two Suns’, Bat For Lashes (Natasha Khan) returns with new single ‘Laura’ – a taste of her upcoming third LP ‘A Haunted Man’.
A deeply emotive piano-led ballad, Khan reaches out to a friend left behind, stuck in a “pale blue dream”. As the song builds to a powerful climax via brass and string accents, Khan’s vocals intensify as she desperately convinces her friend: “you’re the train that crashed my heart, you’re the glitter in the dark”. This isn’t your latest dose of musical motivation a la Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’. No, ‘Laura’ has grace; a subtle strength that is – true to the record’s title – haunting.
Since Khan is known for the elaborate concepts woven into her records, the video for Laura undoubtedly points to some of the themes running through her latest LP. Detaching from ‘Two Suns’’ alter-ego Pearl, Khan seems at her most raw, solemnly moving through a worn, empty theatre, willing for an aged actress to reclaim the glory of her career. It’s not too hard to imagine that Laura is less an individual person, more the personification of a state of defeat. Perhaps ‘The Haunted Man’ will see Khan stay on more personal territory, as the newly unveiled NSFW cover art suggests.
Besides ‘Laura’, a selection of confirmed tracks including ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘Marylin’, ‘Rest Your Head’ and ‘A Wall’ have already been road-tested on recent tour dates, as well as on the festival circuit. Early reports focus on high levels of drama, with nods to an undetermined superstar character on two songs. Subtle implementation of synthesisers also features, alongside traditional instrumentation typical of Khan’s earlier work. ‘A Wall’ deviates from the formula slightly, with a more distinct electronic groove that still feels characteristically primal – an interesting progression justifying her long-felt absence.
‘The Haunted Man’ arrives on October 15, with Bat For Lashes visiting UEA’s LCR for a headline show on October 26. Tickets are available now.