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 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]

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