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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 22 October 2012
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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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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on 15 October 2012
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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on 25 October 2012
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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on 13 March 2016
One of the most original singer/songwriters to appear in the last few years, Bat For Lashes is an astounding audio experience.
If you like Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Goldfrapp, Moloko, Clannad, Enya, Ladytron or retro 80's electropop like New Musik, The Buggles or Sinead O'Connor you will love this.
I came across this artist completely by accident very recently having not heard her previous two albums and was immediately blown away - all three of her releases are ethereal, haunting, astonishing and her fourth album The Bride is out in July.
I can hardly wait.
A mind blowing, astonishing and haunting experience.
Five Stars a definite must buy.
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on 4 June 2016
First-I am in love with Natasha Khan for the music magic she has created on her first 2 albums.
And then this album came.
played it. played it and played it.
Nothing. Not a single song drew me in-made me feel bad as i would have like to have yet another of her albums to enjoy
This just left me flat; I thought maybe the music business was too much to bear for Natasha-it had worn her down
I see now that THE BRIDE is due for release soon-I hope she has recaptured the magic that was Daniel, Horse and I, Glass, Two Planets etc
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on 15 October 2012
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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on 2 September 2014
Another beautiful album from Bat for Lashes.

In an ideal world, she would get the attention and recognition she deserves from the media. The best way I think I could describe her music, is simply: Lush. Albums that you can curl up to, having a drink, reading, in the background or off for a walk. This album is the perfect companion and a personal favourite.
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on 23 February 2013
'Ethereal' may sound something of a lazy cliché, however it is completely apt when applied to Natasha Khan's third studio album, a quite literally haunting series of sensitively crafted and universally exquisite pop songs. The stripped naked cover photograph immediately put me in mind of Annie Lennox's 2003 album Bare, and that's not the only similarity - Khan's fragile yet tensile vocals and wistful arrangements have more than a little in common with those of Eurythmics, as well as the likes of Kate Bush and Eighties indie darlings The Lilac Time; amongst others. The album has a mature honesty and underlying confidence that exceed that of previous effort Two Suns, but like that worthy it is a bold and accomplished collection that showcases Khan as an outstanding talent in the increasingly competitive world of female pop.
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on 16 October 2012
Pre-ordered this on the strength of the first two albums, and I'm afraid it doesn't live up to their quality. On the haunted man, one track merges in to the next until the whole becomes one homogenous mass - in very much the same way that Dido albums do. Fine if you're looking for background music which won't trouble anyone with any distinctive moments; not so good if you would like to be able to tell any of the 11 tracks apart.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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