Fur and Bold, the debut from Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan), captured the raw-nerve emotions, mournful piano and electronic twitches circa the ’90s output of Tori Amos, PJ Harvey and Björk. Two Suns contains many of the same musical signifiers, but focuses more on atmosphere and texture—with fantastic results.
Fierce tribal rhythms drive “Two Planets,” while “Daniel” is a spooky gothic gem shrouded in misty synth-pop. These midnight sensibilities permeate Suns, from the wintry, Knife-like murktronica of “Sleep Alone” to the velvety Scott Walker vocal duet that ends the album on a torch-ballad note. Khan sounds much more confident in her vocal identity; paradoxically, she achieves this by channeling a character named Pearl on several songs, most notably “Siren Song,” a breaking-day tune full of thundering percussion and insistent piano, and “Pearl’s Dream,” which features sinewy electro-funk touches and siren coos. But Suns’ lyrical themes—loneliness, regret, lust and love—aren’t as important as its cumulative emotional impact, which amounts to a sucker-punch to the heart. Beautiful, gorgeous and entirely moving.