Bat For Lashes – The Bride
The new Bat For Lashes release is a wonderful creation. It’s a concept album of sorts. It tells the story of a woman who’s left alone at the altar when the groom dies in a car crash on the way to the wedding. Traumatised, the bereaved bride takes off in the honeymoon car and embarks on a journey of sorts. By the close of the album, she hasn’t arrived at any particular destination, but a certain sense of closure has been reached. It’s not as if normal service has been resumed, but at least she’s looking forward to a time in the future when she can love again. If Björk was telling a story of this sort, it would take the most melodramatic form imaginable. The strings would scythe. The percussion would crash. The bass would physically wrench your stomach from its moorings. It would have its own particular qualities, but subtlety would not be one of them. But this isn’t Björk. It’s Bat For Lashes. The mood is spiritual. The direction inward. The trauma communicated through thoughts and allusions, not sounds. There are storms and even a cyclone. Indeed, the imagery is often elemental. Musically, though, this is a very calm album, particularly towards the end. The songs are strong, the arrangements lovely, the vocals as enrapturing as ever, but the focus is always on the narrative. Natasha Khan has talked of turning The Bride into a book, even a film. And recent gigs have been performed in full bridal dress and smudgy eye makeup. There’s always the risk that the magic will be lost when a project like this is transferred to another medium, but the story is surely strong enough to merit it. So, if the question is ‘Do you want The Bride to be taken to another level?’, the answer can only be, ‘I do, I do, I do’.