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By Danny Canter

As we found in September’s edition of Loud And Quiet, Bat For Lashes’ third album is her most direct and personal yet. The fantastic rabbit holes of ‘Fur and Gold’ and ‘Two Suns’ certainly served Natasha Khan (and so us) well, but at 32 the fame-shy singer is done with hiding behind fairy tale imagery, planetary metaphors and bitchy alter egos. ‘The Haunted Man’ is Khan asking if she is ‘magical’ enough, without the glitter and feathers. With a voice like hers – bewitchingly choral, eternally yearning and still on the brink of good and bad tears – it’s hard to argue that she isn’t.

Khan continues to sing like her life depends on it, like she’s exorcising some deeply burrowed demons. It puts us, the listener, in an awkward position, between hankering for her to find the peace and love she craves, and knowing that once she does perhaps the magic of this highly emotional music might truly be lost. ‘The Haunted Man’ is decidedly more ‘up’ than Khan’s previous albums, though, embracing electronics (especially on the Beck-featured ‘Marilyn’) to accompany her ongoing love for orchestration and returning to a pro life motif.

From the sweaty summer night of ‘Oh Yeah’ to the jubilant “thank god I’m alive” cries of ‘Lilies’, Bat For Lashes’ majesty may be less mythical, but it’s still there, truer and just as vital as it has always been.

Read all of our new album reviews here, in this month’s Loud And Quiet

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