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BAT FOR LASHES The Bride Parlaphone

As Bat For Lashes, Natasha Khan has made some striking, beautiful and occasionally exceptional music. In the early days of her music career, she opened for Radiohead. Her second album Two Suns was a treasure trove of soft-focus anthems. And although it was harder to connect with her last album, 2012’s The Haunted Man, it still contained the swooning piano ballad Laura.

But despite her credentials, Khan’s work has also at times settled for a dreamy-but-dull aesthetic – songs that occasionally wash past in a beige blur; melodies and lyrical themes that meander along, with no obvious destination in mind. On The Bride, her fourth album, this tendency is on full display.

Khan’s soaring voice can be as compelling as ever, and there is the odd winner: Sunday Love has an ounce of lilting energy and sounds like the Bat For Lashes of old (i.e. gently-spun, electronic melodrama). The album’s concept centres on a dark wedding tale, but too many tracks (Close Encounters; In Your Bed) are tediously middle-of-the-road, and the mawkish spoken word Widow’s Peak is just plain cringe. Not quite a disaster, but definitely a disappointment.