Bat For Lashes
Yeasayer are not your average band. Faced with a brief half hour support slot, and a tried and tested backlog of howling, harmonious wonders, you may expect them to play it safe and simply offer up highlights from their 2007 debut. Instead, the Brooklyn four-piece (or five-piece rather with and extra percussion hand) blasts us with a stream of brand new material successfully developing their world music rhythms into heavier, dance tracks. Twenty minutes in – and the other side of 5 newies that throb somewhere near TVOTR doing Cut Copy – ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Wait for the Summer’ arrive in glorious celebration. Then, slinking onstage amidst a wave of guttural protestations of love is the ever-beautiful Bat for Lashes. Natasha Khan’s hauntingly beautiful voice is tailored to the space of the Roundhouse; piercing, ritualistic and supported by the formidable drumming of the exceptional Sarah Jones. Tracks like opener ‘Horse & I’, ‘Bat’s Mouth’ and ‘Pearl’s Dream’ live up to all expectations, but it’s the hidden gems like ‘Sleep Alone’ and ‘Glass’ that are given a new, mesmerising dimension when heard live, effortlessly exhaled by Khan from within her black leotard and under her copper cap. Only the Radio 1-friendly ‘Daniel’ slightly disappoints. Far from weak, it’s simply surrounded by more poignant songs that seem more so due to the hit single’s eagerness to ramp up the trancey synth riff and get people moving. That’s what La Roux’s for. Bat For Lashes is far, far above cheap gimmicks like dancing.
By Stuart Stubbs
Originally published in issue 11 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. October 2009