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Bat For Lashes - aka Natasha Khan - releases her fifth studio album, entitled Lost Girls, on September 6th, 2019 via AWAL Recordings. Lost Girls is another brilliant full-length in Khan's incredible, acclaimed discography, mixing sounds she's always loved heavy bass lines, synth arpeggios, Iranian pop beats, cascading choruses - with some of her finest songwriting to date. It's an album full of romance, an homage to Los Angeles, to being a kid in the 80's, to films that touched and changed her life. Spanning 10 tracks, Lost Girls sees Khan dreaming up her own fully formed parallel universe, creating an off-kilter coming of age film in which gangs of marauding female bikers roam our streets, teenagers make out on car hoods and a powerful female energy casts spells and leave clues for us to follow.
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This one is very much of a piece and it certainly does flow. On first listening it may seem very upbeat, but there are darker currents to be detected. For this is a concept album too, meant to be the score for an imaginary film about California dreaming and longing. About vampires. Only this time, not about a troupe of male vampires, as was the case with the 80's flick on vampire bad boys, but of girls: hence, Lost Girls.
The whole album is very upbeat in sound, very 80's possibly a little too poppy and boppy for the tastes of those of a darker persuasion. The songs are a combination of ballads sang in breathy sopranos, full of longing: percussion is robust, synths complementing box delivery in passion.
My favourites include the second track, The Hunger, the synths and gothic guitar chorus hinting at the tug of forbidden nightly obsessions threatening the ambience of carefree summer days California sunshine. Then there was Vampires, a pure instrumental curdling that sunny ambience again with twisted Cure-like guitars teamed with a lonely saxophone, reminiscent of the moribund Bowie. Of the ballads, Desert Man and, Safe Tonight and Peach Sky build up the passion well, while Feel for You and Jasmine make for nightclub dancing.
On the whole, a genuinely enjoyable album. Natasha Khan seemed to have more fun working on this, and seems not to be trying too hard and this is all the better for it.