Bat for Lashes

Natasha Khan, who performs under the Bat for Lashes banner, is part of a distinctive sorority — one populated by high-flown warblers with a taste for ornate lyrical fantasies. The style's tricky to master, since even minor miscalculations can turn potentially quirky and creative airs into something teeth-grindingly coy and cutesy. Fortunately, Khan generally stays on the positive side of this equation throughout 2006's Fur and Gold, a finalist for the U.K.'s Mercury Prize; like Amy Winehouse, Bat lost out to Klaxons (see page 72). Beats contribute to Khan's success: "What's a Girl to Do?" uses a "Be My Baby" cadence to anchor its tale of a love capable of making her "bat lightning heart" take to the sky, while "Prescilla" sports an undeniably infectious clap-track. Other songs are closer calls: As many folks are likely to be annoyed as beguiled by "The Wizard," a leisurely shuffle yoked to lyrics about "trembling midnight lands" and blood-drinking. Nevertheless, Khan, joined this Friday by Chris Chavez, remains a promising new member of the chanteuse sisterhood.


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