After living in an underground studio of an old house in Woodstock for 2 months, Natasha Khan (aka Bat For Lashes) finally finished recording her 4th album The Bride. The adventurous ambitious album finds her exploring the concept following a women whose fiancé has been killed in a crash on the way to their wedding. Although Khan may not accept that it’s a ‘concept album’, the captivating single story is beautifully written.
The fact that the album was written as the soundtrack for a feature film in mind is clear with every listen. Khan creates an entire world surrounding The Bride, incorporating different characters and places she encounters along her way. The story surfaces at ‘I Do’, a gentle swaying track where Khan’s vocals hold the lullaby. However the dark lyrics of “all of the sorrow will drop away when you say ‘I do” hints to the tragedy that’s about to occur.
Upon hearing the news that her groom has died, The Bride flees to take the honeymoon trip solo. Khan’s hypnotic weapon of her strong vocals in ‘In God’s House’ haunts the ears with emotive lyrics of terrifying dreams. Her choice to take the honeymoon alone explores the theme of loneliness, which is prominent throughout the album. Beginning with a car crash sound effect, ‘Honeymooning Alone’ has a skittering beat and Western style guitar licks lacking originality by just telling the cliché story.
Upbeat track ‘Sunday Love’ flows with a throbbing bass and techno beat contrasting with the occasional twinkle and Khan’s emotive lyrics. The mix-match track jumbles multiple genres together creating an experimental piece, showing Khan’s growth in confidence since 2012’s The Haunted Man.
Stripped back ‘Close Encounter’ demonstrates Khan’s strong but alternative vocals but lacks depth with a moaning orchestra and singular drum beat holding it together. However ‘Widow’s Peak’ has The Bridie repeating a spoken ritual over bewitching chimes fabricating a spooky compelling piece, leading perfectly to ‘Lands End’ a simple but pleasant track.
The predictability of ‘I Will Love Again’ is destroyed as Khan’s vocals grow no more than a whisper layered beneath a prominent beat and transcendent bass line. The repetition of “one of these nights, one of these days. I will love again” really solidifies The Bride’s proud celebratory withdrawing emotions from the listener.
Unfortunately Khan doesn’t offer you the simple ending that a film may offer. With two alternatives from ‘In Your Bed’ and bonus track ‘Clouds’ you’re left to chose your preferred ending. ‘In Your Bed’ explores The Bride’s desire to lay with her husband again with the most simple but catchy melody from the album. However ‘Clouds’ offers the more realistic ending, whereby The Bride admits her feelings of pain and grief in the most angelical of ways.
The experimental but beautifully produced and executed album is a heartbreaking spooky masterpiece. Although lacking a stand out song, all of the tracks are equally as stunning showing off Khan’s phenomenal vocals.