Natasha Khan – the English singer-songwriter known as Bat for Lashes – officially started her career in 2006 under her moniker releasing her debut Fur and Gold in the same year before following it up with Two Suns in 2009, The Haunted Man in 2012, and The Bride in 2016. Now on Friday, September 6, 2019 she returns with her fifth overall studio album Lost Girls.
To be released via AWAL Recordings, Lost Girls continues Bat for Lashes’ penchant for painting Indie Pop songs on a canvas of lush soundscape. Complete with 10 tracks, it opens with the alluring and sensual rhythm of “Kids in the Dark” – the album’s lead single. The broad sonic spectrum becomes even more expansive as “The Hunger” plays next—undulating and hypnotizing with its flickering synth hooks and bubbling basslines; apt for a windy night’s trek. The ensuing “Feel for You” is a different beast of a beauty, exuding an eerie Iranian Pop exoticness that is dashed with chimes and bells and early-’90s Depeche Mode sensibilities (“Enjoy the Silence”).
With “Desert Man,” Bat for Lashes then takes the listener with her to a dip into the loungy side of Synthpop music—slow, sparse, and sensuous; lyrically dark yet romantic: “Love is a nowhere land.” A further dive into the ’80s phase of the genre then creates the bass-heavy and enigmatic splash such as “Jasmine.”
Aptly titled, “Vampires” is definitely a nod to the Gothic New Wave of the same decade to which Bat for Lashes is alluding in Lost Girls—the slicing guitars, the keyboard arpeggios, the synth-horn washes, and the dreamlike ambiance make it a worthy sire of The Cure’s Disintegration; even Robert Smith will most likely pucker those ruby-woo lips of his into a silly mint-car smile. This instrumental track is a proper prelude to the femme New Wave swagger of “So Good,” which will fit well onto a playlist that includes Berlin’s “The Metro,” Shakespears Sister’s “I Don’t Care,” and Roxette’s “The Look.”
Later on, “Safe Tonight” is another slowing of mood and pace, setting the motion for a good balance of swing and dance and dream and trance, but ending in a catchy footloose allusion. The second-to-the-last track, “Peach Sky” is pure ’80s Synthpop gloss—Lennox-like breathy vocal styling, Propaganda-reminiscent cascading basslines, and phaser-pitched keyboard melodies. Finally, Bat for Lashes finishes off Lost Girls with a perfect album closer—the slow, sentimental piano ballad “Mountains.”
Bat for Lashes is indeed on a creative roll, further expanding her stylistic horizons and aural direction. With the Technicolor intensity and equally nostalgic and contemporary predisposition of Lost Girls, there remains so much to be expected from Bat for Lashes. Her fifth symphony is just a new beginning and that is why Cryptic Rock gives Lost Girls 4 out of 5 stars.