The Haunted Man

Studio Album by released in 2012

The Haunted Man review

What haunts you?

British singer Natasha Khan and her project Bat For Lashes are already well-known not only all over the United Kingdom, but far oversees. Her extravagant pop music draws listeners of most various categories, her albums are being sold well, and her separate songs are picked for TV shows and series. In the meantime, Khan’s career is just beginning. In October 2012 the British singer released her only third long player. It was preceded by a long and painstaking creative seeking period. Natasha confessed that, having issued two albums, she felt an urge for a new inspiration, new ideas, and she went on to look for them in a lot of reading and communicating with art experts. As a result, she grew deeply interested in her own genealogy and came to a conclusion that people tend to repeat the mistakes of their ancestors with a definite frequency. That we are all haunted by the past, the failures and falls of our progenitors. This idea formed the concept of the new album which consequentially was called The Haunted Man.

The simplicity of form, and the exquisiteness of content

The concept of the fresh record is fully reflected by the cover featuring Natasha barely capable of holding on her tiny shoulders a young man who must be symbolizing her past. Moreover, both figures are completely naked and cover themselves only with each other. And this should be explaining the musical component of the album. The minimalism in selection of stylistic means and fragile, vulnerable voice of Khan become the key attributes for The Haunted Man music. Working with a major label also influenced the style of the CD in some sense. Bat For Lashes, whose music used to strive for chaos and shapelessness, now work in a more common format. The flawless single Laura with a gorgeous piano indicates this tendency. The same laws work in Marylin, another impressive song with an interesting employment of a male choir on the background. These tracks had to appear here because they make the album a pop record. However, despite the simplification of song structures, The Haunted Man can in no way be called a record for a wide audience in a most accessible package. The exterior plainness of these tracks is compensated by sophisticated production provided by David Kosten, a big master of creating an atmosphere.

Elite pop music

On the whole, the music of The Haunted Man is pop electronic with a slight touch of gothic. And, as a great song-writer, Natasha Khan could have stuffed her third album with catchy choruses, easy melodies to be remembered instantly and thus captivate an immense audience. Instead, Bat For Lashes keeps putting emphasis on details to be spotted only few. Uneasy topics of conflicts between now and past, responsibility and freedom are delivered in combination with peculiar musical backdrop, and you never know what will be the main attraction in the following track, whether an interesting rhythm (All Your Gold), bizarre ambient synths (Oh Yeah) or exotic drums (Horses Of The Sun). As for Natasha Khan herself, she is still at the top of her lyrical work where she addresses more and more serious, mature problems. The characters of these stories are people found in traps of their own doubts and circumstances; they will have to make a difficult choice, take up responsibility, or leave the past behind. The Haunted Man is a remarkable element in the contemporary music, and this record can be of those few to which the term of elite pop music can be applied.