Bat For Lashes (album) 'Fur and Gold' The Echo Label 11/09/2006
"the imagery is uncompromisingly disturbing and anti-arcadian … one of the most stupendous, haunting debuts in ages" Sunday Times
"Khan has a mystical magic that’s distinctly her own" The Observer
Fur and Gold is the debut album from Bat For Lashes, the nom de plume of singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Natasha Khan. Born in 1979, yet combining influences that span decades, Natasha’s work dwells in the elemental, emerging in timeless forms.
Her debut single, ‘The Wizard / I Saw A Light’, was released in May via the Drowned In Sound Digital Singles Club and as a 7" on Natasha’s own imprint, She Bear Records. It instantly sold out, due in part to her captivating performance at the All Tomorrows Parties Festival in May, where Bat For Lashes was invited to play by Devendra Banhart; they managed "to transform the room into witching hour in a small central European forest" (NME), becoming the unexpected hit of the weekend.
Little wonder she had such an impact. Bat For Lashes’ music is bold and vivid. Her live shows, with accomplices Ginger Lee and Abi Fry, are made up of thunderous marching band drums, desert guitar, ballet school piano, harpsichord, sub-bass snarls, hand-claps and naive beats. There are also interludes of exquisite heartbreak – the piano ballad ‘Sad Eyes’ has on more than one occasion left audience members in tears.
It was whilst working as a nursery school teacher, following her university degree in film and music, that the album opener ‘Horse & I’ came to Natasha in a dream. Inspired by tales of Joan of Arc, Natasha is woken by a black horse at the window and sent on a fateful quest…
This extraordinary dream became the muse for the songs that now comprise Fur and Gold. Recorded in London and Brighton, Natasha co-produced the album with David Kosten (Faultline). Recurrent themes of natural forces and animal kingdoms, rugged English cliff tops and engulfing oceans – highlighted on the lament ‘Seal Jubilee’, are juxtaposed by the energy of rough urban living, teenage bedrooms and the freedom of California highways.
Josh T Pearson (Lift To Experience) guests, adding guitar and vocals on three tracks – the brooding live favourite ‘Trophy’, ‘Seal Jubilee’ and the finale ‘I Saw A Light’, adding the kind of hymns and chaos that only the son of a preacher could provide. The work of an artist with a distinct and complete creative vision, Fur and Gold is unlikely to be forgotten in a hurry. Debut albums like this are scarce, and very special. Having spent parts of her childhood in Pakistan, Natasha Khan now lives by the sea in England...where she regularly follows her dreams.
Bat For Lashes played as special guests to Low at Koko in London on 26 July (part of the Don't Look Back series), and appeared at the Green Man Festival on 19 August.
Bat For Lashes...praise from the press.
"It’s wild swans calling and emerald slippers pattering, mystery and mysticism and bad weather. It’s storytelling, fantasy and the desire for discovery, creation and procreation. It’s the thunderstorm when Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights, or the tornado that whisks off Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz… and her voice, like rain on your heart" Plan B Magazine
"like Bjork stranded on a stormy moor, the debut single from Brighton’s Natasha Khan is both beautiful and haunting" NME
"promisingly original … conveys every bit of the spine-tingling sinister uniqueness of Never For Ever-period Kate Bush… delicately malevolent… a burgeoning talent" Metro
"Khan manages to put this indescribable feeling of dreams and nightmares, and of her religious upbringing in suburbia, into a context which can relate a genuine depth of emotion … impressive" The Fly
"wizards and wolves, whispers and thunder – Natasha Khan traverses magical realms, peeking around dark corners and leading us into beautifully spooky territory … this enchanting songstress is perfectly poised to step into the light" Flux
"simply oozes star quality ... Khan creates her own world and sucks you in. Bat For Lashes walk that line between commercial and ethereal. Their music is monumental" launch.com
"levitating beautifully at the exact fulcrum of the Bjork-Talk Talk-Antony & the Johnsons triangle… utterly enchanting" playlouder
"unquestionably unique… Make no mistake: Bat For Lashes will take you somewhere else" Dummy
’The tension between dark and light, bright colours and forests at night, hope and dread, is what helps Fur And Gold achieve greatness? beautiful, disturbing, uplifting and bold’ Sunday Times
‘I really love this, very atmospheric and haunting’ Jo Whiley, BBC Radio One
‘Trophy’ will be the next single, released on Monday 30 October. Featuring Josh T. Pearson (from Lift To Experience) on backing vocals and his inimitable, eerie guitar sounds, 'Trophy' is a dramatic live favourite.
Bat For Lashes UK live dates:
Sun 10 Sept Bestival, Isle of Wight – Rock ‘n’ Roll stage, 8.15pm
Mon 11 Sept Komedia, 44 Gardner Street Brighton, BN1 1UN. Doors 7.30pm. Tix £6/£7
Tue 12 Sept The Spitz, 109 Commercial Street, London E1 6BG. Tix £7.50 in advance
Wed 13 Sept Colchester Arts Centre, Church St, Colchester CO1 1NF. Tix £6 in advance