Bat for Lashes
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I have been a fan of Natasha Khan (a.k.a. Bat for Lashes) for what seems like an eternity now. In reality, it’s more like a decade or slightly more. This was never more solidified for me than when I first played her third album, 2012’s The Haunted Man, and heard the hauntingly beautiful song “Laura.” Given that I have my own beautiful friend named Laura and then listening to lines like “You're the glitter in the dark / oh, Laura / You're more than a superstar,” it was simply impossible for me to not think of this as an ode to someone so incredibly special to me.
Fast forward nearly seven years to the day and I am again finding myself lost in the exquisite, otherworldly sounds that Khan seems so effortlessly at ease creating. Deeply set in the nostalgia of American ‘80s sci-fi and pop, coupled with new character Nikki Pink and (possible vampire) girl gang in tow, Lost Girls most definitely feels like Khan’s female riposte to the 1987 cult film The Lost Boys.
It’s hard to not draw comparisons to the current obsession of ‘80s nostalgia like Stranger Things when listening to this album. From the anthemic opening track “Kids In The Dark,” it’s nearly impossible to avoid flashing back to a 10-year-old me staring into the sky wondering if The Never Ending Story’s land of Fantasia really does exist or even being lost in that maze from Labyrinth. Either way, I have all my ‘80s references in check and so it seems, does Khan.
If there was ever an album of late to represent the cool and sometimes incredibly dark Californian living of the ‘80s that Khan has spoken of when drawing inspiration for this album, it’s most definitely Lost Girls. On the haunting track “Jasmine,” Khan offers, “Her love hurtling down death’s highways / The hands of a killer / The heart of a little girl,” forming a clear connection between protagonist and music which is not only symbiotic, but may also be a type of metaphor for something that Khan herself must feel at times.
Lost Girls unfurls like a soundtrack to a movie, something that Khan herself has spoken of connecting the album to in recent interviews. Whether it is the subtle sounds of disco synth on the love song “Feel For You” and the intoxicating “So Good,” or the delicious instrumental of “Vampires” complete with power ballad saxophone, through to the painfully beautiful album closer “Mountains,” this album doesn’t simply pay homage to ‘80s nostalgia. More broadly, it’s ready and waiting to be the soundtrack to a whole new generation of confused teens trying to navigate their way through the chaos of this thing we call “life.”
Notable Tracks: "Jasmine" | “Kids In The Dark” | "Mountain" | “Safe Tonight”