I remember distinctly the first time I heard Natasha Khan’s project Bat for Lashes. MTV was on in the background at a party (back when they would still play music videos…remember that?) and the video for “What’s a Girl to Do?” came on. She was riding a bicycle flanked by other bikers with animal heads on riding straight ahead and singing directly into the camera. It was strange, the music dramatic with a haunting vibe despite the sweetness in her voice. She knew darkness and rode through it unfazed. As the years went on she continued to grow, the grandeur of the music grew as did the drama, but it was still decidedly a personal experience for each listener, a world created just for you – A foggy, uncertain dream where she is the conductor. Lost Girls is perhaps not so much another evolution of her sound as it is the exploration of another space, magnified by Khan’s enchanting wanderlust – a limitless longing for worlds beyond worlds. A tough vibe to pair a wine with, but I’m up for the challenge!
It’s clear Natasha grew up on a healthy dose of Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, The Cocteau Twins, the Cure, Depeche Mode, Siouxsie and the Banshees…I could go on but I think you get the point. The music is referential without being dependent on its inspiration to create her signature style, which still had plenty of pop to it (I mean damn this girl knows her way around a hook!)
The inspiration for this album is partly 1980’s Fantasy and Sci-Fi, and partly a reflection of her new surroundings, having recently relocated from the UK to Los Angeles. In this new base, she is able to construct a world, fully fleshed with deep roots, along with a past, present, and future, but with space to discover something new and exciting with each successive listen.
This music seems perfectly built for a night drive with no particular destination, or a late night spinning tales and sipping wine in a hazy dimly lit room with a few close friends, occasionally dancing, singing, spilling wine, moving through the night suspended weightless in the moment. I really suggest giving it a listen on your own first, headphones on or in a situation where you can turn it loud and be totally immersed.
While I believe this should be listened to in it’s entirety, I must admit I have some favorites that I’ll pop from time to time just to get my fix – Jasmine, Feel For You, Vampires, and Kids in the Dark. There’s a lot to love on this record though, so give it a listen!
My wine pairing for this album is the Ver Sacrum Garnacha 2017 from Argentina, a wine that is evocative, deeply rooted, and able to tell a story of place, even if it’s not the place they are from. This is Garnacha through Argentinian eyes in what is heavily Malbec country, and it really sings. This is wine as art – full of beautiful Garnacha fruit and spice. As far as wines under $20 go, this is out of this world.
Listen, sip, and let me know what you think!