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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bat For Lashes' most fully-realised album to date
The fancy dress costumes have been put away, and the haunting claustrophobia of Natasha Khan's previous albums Fur and Gold and Two Suns have been traded in for a sound that is cinematic in scope and mature in outlook.

Haunted Man opens with 'Lillies', a song that draws from the same conceptual well as Goldfrapp's Felt Mountain. Khan's ethereal voice hovers...
Published 20 months ago by J. L. Cronshaw

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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting cover art, real shame the music isn't quite as stimulating ...
Music critics can be so demanding. Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes has already released two outstanding albums, some of the best singles in years and a slew of innovative music videos and yet the congescenti all claim she's still got something to prove on her third full length "The Haunted Man". Fortunately Natasha doesn't seem like the sort of person who reads a lot of...
Published 20 months ago by Kenneth


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bat For Lashes' most fully-realised album to date, 22 Oct 2012
By 
J. L. Cronshaw "joncronshaw1" (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Haunted Man (Audio CD)
The fancy dress costumes have been put away, and the haunting claustrophobia of Natasha Khan's previous albums Fur and Gold and Two Suns have been traded in for a sound that is cinematic in scope and mature in outlook.

Haunted Man opens with 'Lillies', a song that draws from the same conceptual well as Goldfrapp's Felt Mountain. Khan's ethereal voice hovers above disjointed electronic beats and warm synths that seem to swoop from the sparseness and fragility of the verse to a lush chorus of exquisitely detailed instrumentation.

'All Your Gold' and 'Horses of the Sun' are both songs whose foundation is in percussive rhythms rather than melodic patterns. All Your Gold takes its lead from Egyptian cadence, with its plucked guitar notes and clinking bottles emulating the sense of intense urgency you would find in some of PJ Harvey's bluesier numbers. Horses in the Sun is built around deep syncopated Dhol drums, electronic jitters and backing vocals delivered in an Arabic magam. There is an uneasy and restless quality to this song that harkens back, at least conceptually, to some of the stranger tracks on Fur and Gold.

'Oh Yeah' takes a leaf out of M83's playbook with its epic electronic soundscape dripping with layers of sampled choirs, trip-hop beats and gorgeous twinkling pianos. What is striking about this song is how crisp the production is: with a sound so echoic and vast, it's remarkable that the individual instruments don't get washed away in torrents of reverb.

'Laura' sounds like every angsty-girl-with-a-piano ballad that one could care to hear and seems somewhat at odds with the rest of the songs on the album. 'Winter Fields', in contrast, delivers frosty synths and atmospheric vocals to produce one of the most interesting and accomplished pieces of music on the album.

The titular 'The Haunted Man' is a song that could easily fit onto Björk's Homogenic album, with its insect-click electronic ticks building to a crecendo of rolling snare drums and thundering bass. This is an exceptional piece of music that fosters an incredible sense of intrigue and wonder in the mind of the listener. 'Marilyn' is equally stunning, and echoes the magical feeling of 'The Haunted Man'. Hammering kick drums and electronic hand-claps shouldn't be able to make such a fantastic sound - but they do, and it's wonderful. Khan's vocals in this song are particularly breathtaking, as she allows her voice to evoke raw feelings of emotion. It might not display the warbled vocal gymnastics that we have become accustomed to through shows like X-Factor, but this is soul music as it should be: real and honest.

In 'A Wall', Khan wears the influence of Kate Bush on her sleeve, seemingly drawing the song's rhythm and tone from Bush's 'The Big Sky', but with one important caveat: it does not sound derivative, but rather a subtle homage that acknowledges her musical influences and marks it as her own. Rest Your Head is another excellent piece of music with haunting synths and sparse electronic beats that would fit easily on any Timbaland record.

Album closer 'Deep Sea Dive' is a downbeat electronic offering with Khan's vocals resonating beautifully over instrumentation that would fit easily on Disasterpeace's awesome soundtrack to mind-bending cryptographic platform game FEZ, with its sweeping synths and dislocated beats.

The Haunted Man is Bat For Lashes' most fully-realised album to date. The music has matured and as a result is subtle and surprising. This is a very good album that makes huge steps in securing Natasha Khan's legacy as a unique vocalist and thought-provoking song-writer.

- Jon Cronshaw
keeporcull.co.uk
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Simply The Best Album Of The Year, 25 Oct 2012
By 
David P. Weber (North Fremantle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Haunted Man (Audio CD)
At different times, this is a soaring, subtle, beautiful and powerful album. It is utterly compelling. The production is so sympathetic that to listen to it with a low volume is a completely different experience to hearing it loud.

It is an ALBUM and to sit with it from beginning to end provides a real journey for the listener.

Bat For Lashes has outgrown any comparison to artists past.

Bushims are there if you really want to look for them, but Kate pretty much did it all between 1978 and 1989. Her impeccable work is forever going to be a benchmark for a certain type of female artist... just as The Beatles have been for nearly all bands, The Rolling Stones are for a certain kind of rock band, Bob Dylan for protest singers or singer/songwriters, Black Sabbath are for metal bands, Elton John is for piano playing solo artist, and so on.

The trick is to take what inspires you and rise above it, and take it further. Bat For Lashes has done this. Glorious.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars haunting and addictive, 15 Oct 2012
By 
Michael Gross - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Haunted Man (Audio CD)
Essentially, the third Bat for Lashes album is a lot like the second, only more so. "Haunting" is a key word that describes the addictive effect of the sounds used to underline Natasha's ethereal vocals. We get a different texture in each song, for instance plucked and muted strings in the first single All your gold, resonating drums in the next track, then bowed string bass in another, or warbling synths or xylophones. These accompaniments are often ostinato, i.e. obstinately repeated for much of the song, but as they have a different kind of sound in each song, they still offer interesting diversity, and often manage to sound mysterious, pulling the listener in by making them curious.

So, well, if you've played Two Suns a hundred times (I have), you may enjoy this even more.

(Oh, and I just love the cover photo to bits. Sadly, the booklet doesn't reveal what happened next - surely she can't have carried that bloke around forever?)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astounding third album, 20 Oct 2012
By 
Brian Hamilton "brianhamilton14" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Haunted Man (Audio CD)
I have been a fan of Bat For Lashes since the debut album 'Fur and Gold.' Here we are now on the third outing for Natasha Khan and I am happy that her journey of self-disovery continues apace.

The lyrics are more meaningful, heartfelt and deep whilst the music is more multi-layered and richer.

I am happy to say that I say Bat For Lashes live and Natasha's voice is simply amazing, despite the layers of music threatening to overwhelm the vocals she can really blast out the notes.

For the first time in a Bat For Lashes album there is an included lyric sheet which to me is essential, her lyrics are very poetic and are worthy of reading and absorbing.

What attracts to me to Bat For Lashes, apart from the standout lyrics, singing and music is the fact that Natasha Khan is a person of dignity, she attracts fans through her formidable talent, she does not need to be 'papped' falling out of a taxi or lying drunk in a gutter.

A woman of rare integrity in these celebrity obsessed times and a band of unparalleled skill and depth who are worth watching.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Cover, 1 Nov 2012
This review is from: The Haunted Man (Audio CD)
At first I thought the sleeve of this CD was in very poor taste.

However upon closer inspection I began to see the fanny side
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journalists' step beyond batting eyelids at contemporaries?, 12 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Haunted Man (MP3 Download)
It's high timing for another Bat For Lashes album after three long years - the storytelling lure of Khan's "Two Suns" had started to wear off, and "The Haunted Man" definitely continues on a high note, cajoling as many as 5 different soundsets as 'genre' contradistinctions together in one track, so they form a clean rhythmic sheet: something Natasha always muses in. Journalists may finally start to see Khan as a female artist with her own musical identity, with her own sense of storytelling as a promising entry on the End Of Year 2012 list. Blending her Pakistani ethnic roots into and beyond the trite Kate Bush comparisons, she does more than "running up hills"; rather, you're "running too slow" by the time communication and splendour of this album is over. Piano ballad "Laura" is the real tearjerker, a song of heartbreak where the listener is left to fill in the gaps regarding the pain. That filling-in-gaps is a befitting phrase for what I'll call "occultasms" - the expulsion of emotion at times you don't even have to hear to place. Haunting indeed, and the best Bat For Lashes album, by far, to date.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 14 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Haunted Man [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Excellent. It is a fantastic Vinyl. Her voice is amazing. The product came as it was supposed to be. It is worth to buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine CD from Bat for Lashes, 1 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Haunted Man (Audio CD)
There are a great many competent female singers releasing CD's but few stand out or have anything new to offer. Natasha Khan is one of the rare singers who does produce something different and worthwhile. Listening to her last CD's I did detect the hint of Bjork and Kate Bush but unlike them, Natsha is very easy on the ear, she can hold a tune and is much more melodic and interesting. Like the excellent Two Suns, the musical arrangement is unusual and helps set the whole presenation apart from the mainstream pop being produced by many others, which gets tiresome. With a few more listens I suspect I may give this five stars but at present I am unsure whether she is exceptional or just very pleasant to listen to.
I decided to buy this purely on the strength of the last CD, Two Suns, and I can see that this is a progression and a more mature production. I will certain get her next CD too. Bat for Lashes CD's are a worthy addition to my music collection . . . and , yes, it is a great cover.
Shame it is packaged in a cheap and tight cardboard sleeve (how can you get the CD out without touching the surface?). That nasty packaging loses at least one star in my rating.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle and Strangely Alluring, 15 Oct 2012
This review is from: The Haunted Man (Audio CD)
I came across this album via the first single "Laura" which I stumbled upon flicking through the ITunes store. Her previous work did not strike a chord with me. Not necessarily a reflection of her music but more my musical tastes. However this single was beautiful and very intriguing, but I still remained cautious about purchasing a full album -watching her ITunes Festival performance did not help, which I found characterless and dull.

The album thankfully works very well as a studio collection and is full of very subtle textures and melodies which interlope with Natasha's "haunting" and emotive vocals and lyrics. Any comparisons to other artists is lazy "journalism" and too many female artists get lumped in the Kate Bush/Bjork tag, which does not always do them justice, but to my mind, think of some of the more softer textured moment of Peter Gabriel's early eighties work, pre-dating So, with similar textures, instrumentation, but with a more contemporary, modern beat.

I must admit depending on my mood, my opinion of her voice shifts from that of one of vulnerable beauty to being rather ordinary but it works well within the material. This is a very cohesive set of songs, and an album where the material and artwork work complement each other very well. If taken as a whole this is a very complete work of art.

A measure of a great album for me is, is it an album I will be still listening to in 5, 10, 20 years' time?. Not sure about this one yet, but strangely can't stop returning to it.

** I initially gave this album a 4 star review but having lived with it for a few months, this is definitley a 5 star album and one that I will continue to pull out of my collection and listen to for many years.

*** As someone who continues to buy CD's am I the only person getting a tad cheesed off by the "Album Only" bonus tracks (i.e can't purchase seperatley) that keep appearing on ITunes?. This album has two bonus songs Lumen and Daphne, which only appear on that download version. Am I actually being penalised for my choice of format?? Artists and record companies need to sort it out.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exciting cover art, real shame the music isn't quite as stimulating ..., 21 Oct 2012
By 
Kenneth (nottingham, england) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Haunted Man (Audio CD)
Music critics can be so demanding. Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes has already released two outstanding albums, some of the best singles in years and a slew of innovative music videos and yet the congescenti all claim she's still got something to prove on her third full length "The Haunted Man". Fortunately Natasha doesn't seem like the sort of person who reads a lot of her own press, so her recent declarations about almost deciding to leave the music world behind are probably completely unrelated to anything audacious the crits might have written about her. I shouldn't create too much of a jaudiced impression of how BFL's music has been received up to this point though, as she has been nominated for and won a number of prestigous awards for her previous work and most sensible music reviewers have spoken about how high their expectations for her latest album are in reference to the brilliance of what she's already been responsible for, opposed to claiming that she hasn't really got started yet.

"The Haunted Man" features many of the trademarks that have made former Bat For Lashes projects so successful; Icy electronc flourishes, with weepy string arrangements and a bounty of lyrics that deal with love, loss and spirituality. Unfortunately Natasha hasn't been able to pull all these elements together as seamlessly this time around though, with far too many of these songs feeling underdeveloped or simply misconceived. Opener "Lilies" starts strongly with a dreamy guitar melody and some Kate Bush-y mysticism coming through Natasha's emotive singing, but then the lyrics start to take a turn for the overblown as the song progresses and the electronica that drifts in and out feels clumsy at best. The next three tracks that follow all suffer from similar problems "All Your Gold" and "Oh Yeah both play with some of the stuttering rhythms you might expect to find on a Santigold album whilst simultaneously attempting to enter into ballad territory, suffise to say they don't turn out too well and "Horse of the sun" although more consistent thematically and instrumentally still fails to really resonate.

"Laura" is the first moment on "The Haunted Man" that doesn't feel tainted besides a couple of lines of cringe-worthy lyrics. Natasha's combination of soaring vocals and a delicate piano melody recall the brilliance of her previous highwater mark of balladry "Moon and Moon" and interestingly enough it's a song that almost didn't make the cut for apparently being too straight forward! "Winter Fields" and the title track also offer some redemptive moments on an otherwise disappointing album, with the former mixing sombre post classical strings and invigorating synth pop flourishes and the latter making excellent use of a male vocal choir. Closer "Deep Sea Diver" serves as the greatest illustrator as to why the "The Haunted Man" as a whole has limited impact however, the song plays with some interesting musical motifs and features some intriguiging lyricism but ultimately comes to an unsatisfying finish. Natasha Khan has far from disgraced herself on her third LP, but if reports about her spending two and a half years making this are correct, it does show that her increasing desire for perfectionism might be hurting her creativy rather than enhancing it.
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