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31 October 2012
SOMETHING TO HOOT ABOUT: 34
BAT FOR LASHES - "MARILYN"
Brighton's very own Bat For Lashes has just released her latest album instalment, "The Haunted Man" in which the singer delves into a far more intimate realm of baroque glimmer-pop, full of song writing prowess and sincere musical credence. With this album Natasha Khan has essentially matured from her previous two stints; here she seems to portray the delicate nature with how a woman deals with the complexities of relationships and can flourish as an individual amidst angst and emotional upheaval. It is stark, transparent and stripped bare. We can only assume "Marilyn" is in reference to the 1950's Hollywood icon with lyrics such as "See your face and I touch you, black and white, You're a silver screen", although this could be representative of many things; fame, femininity, vulnerability. With those assumptions comes the musical interplay; grandiose theatre-pop haze a la Lana Del Rey meets Niki And The Dove's celestial leanings; swooping synth-pop loops muzzle against brilliantly orchestrated landscapes. Having input from Beck and ex-Ash member Charlotte Hatherley makes this song feel polished and crystalline; echoed lines saunter and instruments lackadaisically meander, further enhancing the effect of this absolutely raw and beautiful ode to self discovery and womanhood.
Since 2007 Alt-J have slowly cultivated a sound enriched with folk-pop characteristics and strands of indie realism. They have had a fantastic year so far topped off by their Mercury Music Prize nomination that ties in with the release of their highly credited debut album, "An Awesome Wave". The Leeds band have a distinct sound that sinuously strings each individual member's talent into the overall product; starting off as a rustic affair, the addition of guitars, keys and bass make "Something Good" a finely tapered and neatly presented slab of pristine indie delight. The song's initial opening commences under a hazy shroud where Catalan infused guitar twangs float between stuttering drum beats. There is an overwhelming flood of emotions bottled up in this introduction; a sense of impending tension or an outpouring of thoughts. Despite such notions Alt-J manage to bestow this track in folk qualities; relaxing, frank and uncomplicated. Joe Newman's vocals offer a wiry serenade of lyrical provocation; challenging ourselves against the intricacies of life. The interpretive slant on "Something Good" imbues it further with artistic worth and credibility. This flotilla of indie-folk orchestrations showcases the skills this Leeds band have mustered over the last five years. This single is beautiful, yet modest and with a thought-provoking video to match it will leave you pondering life from another angle.
The Ghosts are one of those bands that naturally fit together as if there was no doubt or questioning their origins. After meeting in 2010, former Ou Est Le Swimming Pool member Alex Starling and drummer Ian Palmer realised they shared a similar music vision; to produce synth-pop full of intricate audio detailing and contemporary facets. Adding the individual talents of Rayna, Alex and Dan allowed this band to develop into something fully fledged and dynamic. With a bolstered instrumental arsenal, this five-piece have already carved out their debut album entitled "The End" and set tongues wagging over their crystalline snippets of golden sound. "Underrated" is an enchanting fairground ride of haunting key pools and strident eighties back beats nudged along courtesy of a pulsating tempo. Bedazzling in places, this track undulates rather pleasantly between chimes and ringing swells in a manner that can only be described as salubrious. Starling's ethereal vocal flurries deconstruct the instrumental resonance and neatly parcel it into sensible chunks of sound that eventually feel uncluttered and well paced through each choral section. However, what differentiates this band from the majority is that they know their sound, "Ian had this idea of making an album that was like a dream; a mixture of fantasy world and reality, these two worlds colliding", states Alex. Meticulous, mesmeric and glacial, we think The Ghosts have achieved what they set out to do.