Scott Creney

Bat For Lashes – Haunted Man (Capitol)

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By Scott Creney

Already I’m regretting this. Sometimes I scroll through the album previews on NPR — half of me looking for something to enjoy, the other half looking for something to review. I’m not proud.

So when I come across a preview for Bat For Lashes, someone I’ve heard good things about, and I see a description that compares her to Kate Bush, there’s no way I’m not going to give it a listen.

Surely they mean Sarah McLachlan right? I guess it’s just the times we live in. Any band with a washy guitar sound is automatically going to get compared to My Bloody Valentine and any woman who writes her own songs must be Kate Bush.

Is “You’re more than a superstar” (from ‘Laura’) supposed to be some kind of a compliment?

I don’t question the song’s sincerity. If anything it’s so sincere that it can’t even breathe. The album goes on, a less imaginative Tori Amos — hell, it’s barely punching its weight with Kimbra’s recent album. And hey, speaking of Mrs. Gotye, you Gotye fans (and as we know, Collapse Board has more Gotye readers per square mile than any other musical continent on the interwebs) need to hear this shit.

There was someone that I knew before? I know we live in an age where people would rather die than have an original creative thought, but surely the world isn’t already nostalgic for six months ago? Simon Reynolds is either spinning in his grave or preparing a sequel (Retromania II: More Maniacal! More Retro!).

This half-assed Paula Cole bullshit bores the crap out of me. Its Enya-esque sonic soundscapes make me retch. Lyric banalities that aspire to depth. Doesn’t anybody understand? When ABBA sang “You can dance/You can jive/Having the time of your life”, the reason it still sounded like magic is because they managed to make those words sound important and silly AT THE SAME GODDAMN TIME. Bat For Lashes just tries to make everything sound serious in the hope that someone will take her seriously, certain in the certainty that some people somewhere, in the throes of deepest emotion and flailing for an album that can reflect these emotions back to them, will bond with her music. That is not meant as an insult to these people, but as a tribute to the profound realness of their pain, that they are able to turn this mediocrity into something human and meaningful.

But if it wasn’t this tripe, it would just be another tripe. And there’s always some more of it coming down the road. This type of tripe trope is just all too typical. The universe deserves better. Her listeners deserve better.

Cool cover though. [Isn’t it? – Ed]

6 Responses to Bat For Lashes – Haunted Man (Capitol)

  1. Simon October 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    two suns is so good though

  2. Tom R October 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    She’s got a way with a hook, though. A way that cuts to my core. The best songs on Two Suns had that. And fucking awesome drums and a sinister ooze seeping from the seams. Her melodies and arrangements often took unexpected paths. She was cunning in her instrumentation. The high school drama club sentiment seemed worth it, then. I know some disagree. The duality premise was hokey in concept and poorly executed. She’s done well to leave that shit out of this one. But she replaced it an album best represented by a lead single that sounds like “Hallelujah” rewritten by the collective consciousness of every person who holds up “Hallelujah” as some musical paragon.

    I never care about lyrics anyway, unless they’re appallingly bad. This time, they are.

  3. Noel Gallagher October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am

    oh boo hoo hoo. what a fucking nonsurprise this is. irrelevant indie schmindie shithole website slags off another record by a ‘name’ artist. fact is if you sad cunts had been handed this album as demo tape at some feminazi zine convention you would be raging about how good it is. but noooooo- you sad fucks didnt discoer it first and so toys are ejected from prams and you whinge and whinge. it would be fine if you sad cunts didnt listen to such BAD BAD BAD BAD sub riuot grrk atonal shit and push it here. the sad personaljournal of a man who is most famous for pushing kurdt cibains wheelchair and a handful of sickophants. this is why music journaism went down the fucking toilet when people that could write became so self absorbed and up their own ass. kulkarni was right about nme but this is no better. snarky finger pointing from yesterdays men. here!!! is a fact for you scumbags. girls aloud are BACK. They are more important than every dirty hairy talenteless bundle of cunts you celebrate. they are STARS. THEY MAKE MOMENTS FOR PEOPLE WHO ENOY MUSIC AND DANCING AND CELEBRATING. you cunts sit their polishing your daniel j seven inches and rage at the world. you are history and no one fucking cares.

  4. Everett True October 21, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Dude, you REALLY need to get back with your brother.

  5. Golightly October 22, 2012 at 2:04 am

    This review clearly shows how little the reviewer knows of Bat For Lashes’ previous work… and there’s no harm in reviewing without listening to past discographies if you stick to reviewing the music rather than second guessing where the musician is coming from. I think this review makes too many assumptions. There’s also clearly a disappointment that she doesn’t rip off Kate Bush and FYI to truly be like Kate Bush, you can’t sound like Kate Bush… the whole point is that she is something of a maverick. Holding that against this music is not useful. BFL didn’t give you those expectations, so she shouldn’t be held accountable for your disappointment. I don’t think these tracks are especially inspiring, but that’s based on one listen. It’s clearly a progression from previous records and sounds more refined, which is something the majority of bands and artists sound over time, whether we like it or not… that’s them growing and getting ‘better’ even if we don’t like their more sophisticated stuff as much as their earlier rawer or more experimental stuff… just seems to be par for the course really.

    @Noel G- the fact that people such as yourself use the word “Feminazi” is a good enough reason for feminism to exist. So if you don’t like feminism, then stop giving people a reason to need it and stop being sexist and we can all win.

  6. Tom R October 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Golightly – all too true. Age seems to bring conservatism.

    And Noel. Please use search the site for the following terms: “Beyonce” “Minaj” “Stone Roses” (you’ll like that last one, I bet).

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