Last year English songstress Natasha Khan grabbed our attention with her incredible Donnie Darko-esque one-take video for her band Bat for Lashes’ “What’s a Girl To Do.” The album it came from, the well-received 2006 debut Fur and Gold, led to a prestigious European tour support slot with Radiohead: “Thom Yorke told me I should do what I want and fuck everyone else,” she recalls. And so she has — Bat for Lashes will return April 6th with Two Suns, an album heavy on musical method acting.
Khan tells Rolling Stone that the record was inspired by intensely personal experiences that followed ’06’s hauntingly ethereal Fur and Gold. But instead of writing first-person confessionals, her new lyrics are channeled through two main personas, one of which is Pearl, an egotistical (and blond!) femme fatale. “When I was recording and struggling with relationships and being away from home, I would sometimes go out to a bar and get drunk and then dress up as some of the characters on the album,” she says. “It was like an escapist fantasy — a way for me to help make sense of what I was feeling. It sounds a bit mental but then again, I was feeling a bit mental at the time.”
Brooklyn experimentalists Yeasayer contribute to the album and Khan has even managed to lure the famously reclusive Scott Walker into providing vocals on the album’s finale “The Big Sleep.” “That song was meant to be drag queen’s dying song and I wanted it to be very theatrical. I was trying to sing the low part like a man but when I did, I just heard Scott Walker’s voice in my head,” she says. “It was all done by e-mail and we didn’t even meet. I sent him the song with some notes and he sent it back saying he really tried to get into character and that he hoped he had done it justice — which he definitely has! He also said it was the quietest he’d sung in years.”