Thursday, 11 October 2012

Bat For Lashes - The Haunted Man (6.7/10)

I have been quite a huge fan of Bat For Lashes for quite some time now, the first time I heard 'What's A Girl To Do' I knew I found the quirky female musician for me. Fast forward to 2012 and we see Natasha grace us once again with her third album 'The Haunted Man' and where the kookiness has left Bat For Lashes ambition has never been greater... unfortunately this leaves a distinctive lack of charm and identity. Bat For Lashes has never released a killer album, I found Two Suns to be a bit top heavy, but for me it's always been about those great moments Bat For Lashes produces on quite a consistent basis. This year it's all about the likes of 'Laura' which is an incredible conventional ballad with some real power behind it with an incredibly strong vocal performance, 'The Haunted Man' is quite an epic  , 'Rest Your Head' has a really nice dream scope underlying the driven momentum & 'Winter Fields' hits you in the face with an incredibly haunting yet driven sound. However this album falters, where the low points of previous efforts where mealy disappointing, the lulls in this album often feel soulless and lifeless & this can mostly be blamed on incredibly limp production.  The synths and drums on this album sound particularly pathetic as you hear snare hits quietly whimper in the background & with synths that leave no impression at all, I honestly couldn't pin point a single tone or sound a synth produced on this entire album despite their heavy presence.  'Oh Yeah', 'Horses Of The Sun' & 'Deep Sea Diver' are three clear examples of an idea not quite coming together  they all sound like songs with killer ideas in them but they never feel like cohesive and engaging songs threw and threw. This album is a collection of some incredibly ambitious ideas & to her credit she does have more then her fair share of moments where the album all comes together to produce something fantastic but unfortunately about half the duration of the album left me incredibly frustrated, underwhelmed and bored. I think these songs will for the most part translate really well live but I cannot stress how truly awful the production is at times & this hindrance really shows up some of the flaws of the song writing.

+ 'Laura', 'Marilyn' & a few others are really strong songs; some of her best to date
+ Shows a lot of ambition
+ Should translate well live with a lot of big moments which will sound much better without lifeless drums

- A lot of songs don't quite come together as well as I would have liked
- The production is awful, the drums & synths have no presence and it's often way too bassy
- This album lacks true identity, relies a bit heavily on sounding 80's & conventional

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