ECHO / BMG
Bat for Lashes (Natasha Khan to her mum) was clearly the victim of her own success—each album becoming decidedly more slick, produced, and polished, as it happens. So it’s hardly surprising that she would team up with Brit psych rockers TOY to attempt to regain a bit of the arcane aura she first greeted us with on 2006’s Fur and Gold. And from opener “Ha Howa Ha Howa” to the excellent final track “War in Peace,” the rather intensely echo-chambered, prog-metal aesthetic vividly announces her intentions with this dramatically named side project. Accordingly, she howls like a wolf (or witch?), to a sometimes erotic, other times chilling effect. She even goes all Robert Plant on “Kassidat El Hakka” while ostensibly proffering a keen bit of atheistic propaganda: “When I die I’m going back to what I was / Nothing nothing nothing”—which, we can safely guess, won’t score her any invites to the Vatican. There are moments when it does go a bit “spirit mother” (“Helelyos”), but this is banshee-chic at its most freako—and what better way to welcome the autumn chill? Our altars and sacrifices are ready.