bat-for-lashes-two-suns-2009It’s fair to say that after that the announcement of a new Bat For Lashes record a couple of months ago caused a modest kind of sit amongst those who had been enchanted by the Mercury nominated Fur and Gold. People weren’t talking the new record up as possibly the greatest to touch human ears this decade, that’s not the kind of people Bat For Lashes fans are, but there was a definite air of quiet confidence in Natasha Khan’s growing army of fans that was apparent in discussions with like-minded friends and on internet message boards.On opener ‘Glass’ Khan seamlessly manages to weave elements of myth and mysticism into what at heart are tales of human relationships that would be at home in more humble surroundings than these. As she sings of “a thousand crystal towers a hundred emerald cities/ and the hand of the watchman, in the night sky/points to my beloved, a knight in crystal armour” billowing toms explode underneath some admittedly impressive vocal acrobatics that have previously been confined to live performances.It’s an extremely confident start to the record and thankfully the quality doesn’t drop, the pulsing sensuality of ‘Sleep Alone’ seeps into the stunning, delicate ‘Moon and Moon’; a delight as any who have seen the live version on youtube will testify. Featuring just Khan’s voice atop a deceptively simple piano line with a modest accompaniment of strings and waltzing backing vocals, by the chorus the vocals are simply devastating.‘Daniel’ – which if you’re reading this you’ve probably heard, is arguably Bat For Lashes most commercial moment yet but no worse off for it and is the also best song written about The Karate Kid. There are still unexpected musical twists though as illustrated by the opiated rootsy gospel of ‘Peace of Mind’. As Khan and choir build to a soaring climax this is mirrored by a nagging paranoia. An ode to self assurance that seems full of doubt it amounts a wonderful expression of human frailties.‘Siren’s Song’ is almost a perfect summation of the Bat For Lashes sound, After insistent piano, vivid imagery, falsetto wails and booming drums everything drops away to a tender verse that could finds us back in the real world before the track takes off once more.The track marks the only lyrical appearance of Khan’s (second) alter-ego that was mentioned in the press release as being a key part of the concept behind Two Suns. The issue of this being a concept record about the duality of personality seems slightly superfluous in all honestly. Khan has always been fond of taking on different characters and perspectives in the past; the only difference is now what had previously been implied has been made explicit. On Fur and Gold there was a similar theme of Khan expressing different aspects to a personality in different songs.It’s encouraging that Khan clearly got plenty of time and freedom from EMI in making Two Suns and this has been reflected in a daring, second album; one that is simultaneously bold and expansive and fragile and intimate.Arguably one of Britains leading talents at a time when most (that’s most not all) of the interesting and alternative music is being made across the Atlantic, we really should cherish her.90%Bat For Lashes on MySpace