It was in 2009 that I got hooked into Bat For Lashes’ sophomore album Two Suns. Something about the haunting, ethereal songs touched me and I was unable to stop listening to the album for a good few weeks. I still come back to it on occasion, playing the album from beginning to end without skipping a single track. But there came a point where I realized that, for as much as I loved those songs, I wanted something new, a new journey to undertake.
So when I heard that a new album was on the way, I was immediately intrigued and full of anticipation. After all, Bat For Lashes puts out a style of music that I don’t really hear anywhere else, so it’s like getting a breath of fresh air, a new playground in which to have fun. And so I entered into The Haunted Man with somewhat baited breath, wondering if it could match what I had wanted for the past year.
The album kicks off with “Lilies”, which starts off almost like a mellow surf rock ballad and morphs into a more electronic piece, yet still holds onto the ballad aspect from the beginning. It’s one of those tracks that just puts a smile on your face, especially when Natasha Khan jubilantly cries out, “Thank god I’m alive!” right before strings triumphantly sing forth.
From a production point, the album is stunning. Full of rich, diverse tones, this is an album that needs to be listened to through either fantastic speakers or headphones. It was incredibly easy for me to get hypnotized and lost in the mix, drifting from one beautiful sound to another.
Above I wrote that Bat For Lashes’ music is like entering a playground, which might be the best way to describe The Haunted Man. Each song is a new area to explore, full of rich possibilities that cater to and encourage the imagination. It can also be described as a phantasmagoric, labyrinthine experience, where rays of light and hope are sprinkled throughout.
The Final Word: The Haunted Man plays out like a rich poem where every line can be appreciated for its phrasing, length, and meaning. Bat For Lashes has put out another stunning release. Very highly recommended.