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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely strange but oddly normal
We saw this girl and her mostly female band at Glastonbury, and were instantly mesmerised by her melodic voice and the band's members subtle use of the weird sounding instruments and great backing vocals.In addition,they were able to change around instruments between themselves, creating some brilliant music that was in total control all times, a wonderful sound that was...
Published on 18 July 2007 by B. J. Townsend

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Taste of things to come...
One great track ('What's A Girl To Do?'), and one good, ("Prescilla"). Better things were to come with the second and third albums.
Published 13 months ago by Whatley


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely strange but oddly normal, 18 July 2007
By 
This review is from: Fur And Gold (Audio CD)
We saw this girl and her mostly female band at Glastonbury, and were instantly mesmerised by her melodic voice and the band's members subtle use of the weird sounding instruments and great backing vocals.In addition,they were able to change around instruments between themselves, creating some brilliant music that was in total control all times, a wonderful sound that was different but somehow familiar.

We ordered the CD from Amazon, who were out stock, but it arrived two weeks before they said it would, have been playing it ever since,just magical.

Bob and Barb Townsend
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We need pop mavericks, 7 Aug 2007
By 
War Baby (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fur And Gold (Audio CD)
Awful name for a band but then people kept mentioning Bjork and Kate Bush in the same sentence as Natasha Khan's band of female musical mavericks, so I decided Bat For Lashes could be ignored no more. Why did I wait!
What made the early Kate Bush and Bjork records so special was their naivety and total lack of self-consciousness coupled with a wonderful, if off-kilter, pop sensibility. And it's that which Bat For Lashes have in spades.
While our two maturing heroines have become increasingly avant guard or insular, Khan remains fresh-faced, up-beat and in love with the melodic possibilities of a simple pop hook. And, hand on heart, there is not a song on the album that has me reaching for the track-skipping switch.
This is a fine record, perhaps the best I have heard in the past 12 months, that deserves a wide audience. We need pop mavericks (even if they do sing about wizards, bats etc) and Natasha Khan more than carries the torch. Great stuff.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Individualism strikes again!, 14 July 2007
By 
I. Lehnert (Derby/Blackburn, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fur & Gold (Audio CD)
Well, I dont know many albums that start with a harpsichord melody that sounds so simple that it may as well have come out of one of my childhood keyboards, but still retains a certain baroqueness about it. But here we are! Bat For Lashes is essentially Nataschka Khan's band, a gifted singer/songwriter who mixes a Bjork-like individuality with unusual instrumentation and graceful songwriting. The album relies mostly on piano/keyboard/violin melodies and Khan's direct yet soft vocals.

Listening to it, there doesnt seem to be a definitive song for this band, as each of the 11 tracks on offer here sound unique. That doesnt mean they're all winners; all of the songs can be praised for individuality but some for being unmemorable. This, in turn, makes haunting piano-led ballad 'Sad Eyes' stand out, aswell as opener 'Horse And I' with its impressive vocal melodies. Album highlight would be 'The Bat's Mouth', which slowly builds to a beautiful melodic pinnacle of optimism and ends with a lovely quiet ending, touching violin lines and all.

Unusual, varied, slightly moody but not depressing, individualistic and slightly poppy would be the best way to describe it. Whilst 'Fur And Gold' isnt a classic its got plenty of memorable moments on it, and it bodes well for Khan's career if she's making songs this good on her debut.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Individualism strikes again!, 25 July 2007
By 
I. Lehnert (Derby/Blackburn, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fur And Gold (Audio CD)
Well, I dont know many albums that start with a harpsichord melody that sounds so simple that it may as well have come out of one of my childhood keyboards, but still retains a certain baroqueness about it. But here we are! Bat For Lashes is essentially Natasha Khan's band, a gifted singer/songwriter who mixes a Bjork-like individuality with unusual instrumentation and graceful songwriting. The album relies mostly on piano/keyboard/violin melodies and Khan's direct yet soft vocals.

Listening to it, there doesnt seem to be a definitive song for this band, as each of the 11 tracks on offer here sound unique. That doesnt mean they're all winners; all of the songs can be praised for individuality but some for being unmemorable. This, in turn, makes haunting piano-led ballad 'Sad Eyes' stand out, aswell as opener 'Horse And I' with its impressive vocal melodies. Album highlight would be 'The Bat's Mouth', which slowly builds to a beautiful melodic pinnacle of optimism and ends with a lovely quiet ending, touching violin lines and all.

Unusual, varied, slightly moody but not depressing, individualistic and slightly poppy would be the best way to describe it. Whilst 'Fur And Gold' isnt a classic its got plenty of memorable moments on it, and it bodes well for Khan's career if she's making songs this good on her debut.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant CD. Brilliant live., 7 May 2007
By 
C. Cook "Monkey-man" (Where in the world am I? HEAVEN!) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fur And Gold (Audio CD)
I saw the end half of Bat for Lashes performing live last night and they were stunning. A female four-piece headed by the beautiful Natasha Khan with her intimate, original and mesmerizing vocals. The band played a series of strange instruments (one of

Natasha banged against the floor to create an echoey drum-like sound.

The gig was advertised very much as a solo artist with accompniments however they were much more of a complete band, they had a wonderful rythm between them with lovely harmonies and the stunning use of of merely clapping. Although I couldn't make it until the second half, it was clear to see they had completely captivated the audience very quickly. On the quieter numbers, the crowd wasn't making a sound at all until it came to the end where the room would errupt in cheers and emphatic clapping. When they fnished my friend said "Quick, let's go get a CD" but, listening to the roars and chants for an encore, I simply said "No, they're getting back on that stage." It may have taken several minutes, but we forced them back on and by the end people at the front were in tears.

I spoke to Natasha briefly after the gig and got her to sign my CD which, out of interest, has not left my player all day. This is a stunning and influential album with echoes of Bjork and Kate Bush, some of the tracks even reminding me of Arcade Fire. Special appraisals have to be noted for the hauntingly perfect, harmonious track 'Sarah' and also to the spectacular, beat-clapped 'Prescilla' and 'The Wizard'.

Certainly a wonderful break-through worthy of making an entry into any best of 2006 list. Euphonic and echoey, this album and this band are best described simply as: beautiful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe the reviews. This is refreshingly good!, 14 Mar 2007
By 
Stephen Lloyd (Bradford, West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fur And Gold (Audio CD)
When i first bought and played this album i knew it was good. I was just unsure whether i actualy liked it or not. Days after first listening however i was haunted by vocals, melodies and tunes that I had no recollection of hearing when i first played 'fur and gold'. On the second play i knew that i liked it. On the third i fell completeley in love with it.

Bats for lashes is essentialy the talent of Natasha Khan abely assisted by an eclectic array of musicians and, significantly, by uber talented producer, keybordist and programmer David Kosten (check out faultline 'Your love means everthing' and the Ben Christophers albums he produced to see the influence he has had on 'fur')

It is indeed very true that this album has shades of Kate Bush, Bjork and Portishead in it's mix ( i also think we should throw in Nico period velvets on 'I saw a light'-it's that John Cale viola!) but it is essentialy entirely Natasha's baby and it is inexplicably unique to her.

I have not heard an album for many a year where each track is so significantly different from it's predecessor but yet seamlesslesy works as a whole when heard in one sitting. All the tracks on this album are beautiful and all are haunting and memorable without being repetitive or simple constructions. You can revisit these tracks many times, as i have done, and their impact is always different. The impact of these songs does appear to be influnced by the listners own mood at the time.

Natasha Khan has real talent. I know 'Fur and Gold' has garnered critical praise since it's release. I just hope that it sells sufficent amounts to encourage it's creator to provide us with more of the gorgeous same.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not of this world., 6 Nov 2006
By 
J. W. Bassett (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fur And Gold (Audio CD)
Halfway through Fur And Gold's opener, Horse & I, you can't help but consider that the time Natasha Khan (the astonishing voice behind Bat For Lashes) spent as a nursery school teacher has given her the inspiration and ability to nurture childhood fantasies as a source of creativity. Dark and initially foreboding, Horse & I - like the rest of this stunning debut album - is the perfect construction of haunting storytelling and deceptively sweet melodies.

While Bat For Lashes is the spooky brainchild of Natasha Khan, her bandmates prove just as adept at creating portentous panoramas. Despite Khan's enchanted voice and theatrical presence, it is the vivid strings on Bat's Mouth create perhaps the album's outstanding poetic dreamscape, and the harpsichord highs of Sad Eyes are as potent an apothecary as any of Khan's vocals.

Debut single, The Wizard, is rife with distant thunderclaps and swirling foggy electonics, while there are elements of Godspeed You Black Emperor! chaos on Seal Jubilee and some bubblegum pop handclaps on Prescilla.

While the numerous eccentricies force comparison with Bjork, Kate Bush and Portishead, Fur And Gold is an altogether unique album. Moreover, shadowy, cobweb-draped and not a little bit spooky, it's an album that is not entirely of this world.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 1 Feb 2007
By 
IWFIcon - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Fur And Gold (Audio CD)
The hype gave everyone the bullet point references; a bit of Bjork, a sprinkling of Kate Bush...and whilst those are comparisons that are certainly not off the mark, the end product is something that is so much better than labelling the "new" anything.

It was the Phil Spector stylings of "What's A Girl To Do" that first turned me onto Natasha Khan (aka Bat For Lashes). It's 60's tinged pop melody combined with its spoken word vocal to create something that you rarely get from a record these days, an atmosphere. And this is something that carries on throughout the album. If the Arctic Monkeys give us a witty real-life insight into modern-day Yorkshire life, Bat For Lashes transport us to another world entirely. A mystical, ethereal one that draws you in repeatedly until you are lost in the gothic, almost fairytale world that is created.

Of course it may be sounding all a little too far "out there" for it's own good, but fear not. Khan may take us on this otherworldly journey, but she has the good grace to accompany it with some sublime sing-a-long choruses and catchy melodies. Particular highlights include Trophy (again with Khan's narrative vocals), Horse & I and I Saw A Light. But really, this is not an album to skip tracks on, this is an album to immerse yourself in from start to finish. It really is that good.

In my humble opinion, this has to be a front runner for the 2007 Mercury Music Prize
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A banquet for the shadows, 11 Feb 2008
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Fur And Gold (Audio CD)
Imagine walking through a forest flooded by golden light, full of mystery and magic, and the sorrow of things that are fading away.

That's sort of the atmosphere of "Fur and Gold," the debut album by Bat For Lashes. The Brighton band -- really a one-woman band for Natasha Khan -- churns out a stream of shimmering, dark, fantastical chamberpop that sounds like the halfway point between Feist and Joanna Newsom.

It opens with the dreamlike "Horse and I," with its throbs of harpsichord and marching military drums (a Jeanne D'Arc influence?). "Got woken in the night/by a mystic golden light/My head soaked in river water," Khan murmurs, sounding both desperate and sleepy. "The smell of redwood giants/A banquet for the shadows/Horse and I, we're dancers in the dark/Came upon the headdress/It was gilded, dark and golden..."

It rises into a desperate plea, as "The children sang/I was so afraid I took it to my head and prayed/They sang to me, "This is yours to wear/You're the chosen one, there's no turning back." The song swells and falls, with Khan murmurs painfully, "There is no turning back/there is no turn..."

Khan does try out some more conventional songs, like the darkly minimalistic "What's A Girl To Do," a haunting, dramatic lament about a fizzled-out affair. But even then, she includes some unique phrases ("And my bat lightning heart/Wants to fly away"). And then there's "Sad Eyes," a painfully loving post-breakup song ("Keep my love as light as a feather").

Then she regains some of that more magical sound, with songs about powerful wizards, black snow, beautiful wild girls who die or grow up, centaurs, haunted forests. It finishes with the exquisite "I Saw A Light," a piano ballad that briefly swells up into a musical storm.... right before Khan says softly, "And I said goodbye."

The music industry doesn't turn out much music like this -- pop music that relies on sensual instrumentation and brilliant songwriting, rather than jiggle or computerized vocals. Fantastical forests and seas, tropical islands, lovelorn urbanites, and magical horses all somehow weave into this -- it's like a long, beautiful dream.

It also has pretty unique instrumentation -- much of it is harpsichord and strings, but there's also plenty of military-style drums, cymbals, some mellow electric guitar, trumpet in places, and a shimmer of autoharp. Khan weaves the sounds together expertly into a dark, lush, velvety tapestry that sounds like the work of a longtime professional.

And somehow it doesn't seem surprising that her vocals fit in perfectly -- she can do husky, soaring, a childlike singsong, or the half-spoken chant of "What's A Girl To Do?", where she seems to be almost conversing with the listener. Often she's backed by a ghostly, sensual chorale, which sounds like her own voice.

"Fur and Gold" is all darkness, gold, feathers and twilight -- a stunning, musically lush, lyrically exquisite pop album. Despite the odd name, Bat for Lashes has genius.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fur and Golddust, 24 July 2007
By 
G. Donoghue "Gary" (Mistley, Essex. UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Fur And Gold (Audio CD)
Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) and her fellow musicians have produced something beautifully, mesmerically unique with 'Fur and Gold' - yet the influences are there for all to hear...from the Bjork like voices on 'Trophy' and 'What's a girl to do' to the PJ Harvey utterances on 'Sad Eyes' which is moving to the point of tears. Khan has an incredible, touching, emotive voice with magical range but it was the musical layers that set this apart and made me sit up and listen...I'd not been this transfixed since Radiohead's 'OK Computer' and I often felt Khan's arrangements were up there with some of the best from that album. Easily the best thing I've heard this year...a wonderful talent.
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