14 June 2012 Stuff We Like
Bat For Lashes - Two Suns (Import)
The version of Two Suns we have in stock is an import, which means you have to pay a little extra to hear the album in all its analog goodness. Is it worth it? As I ponder this question, I think back to 2009, and the nights I spent wandering the parking lots of Springfield, Virginia listening to this album for the first time. "Siren Song" struck me first- I don't really think of myself as a ballad guy, but this one grabbed me right away- the way it explodes in the chorus, the way its deceptive simplicity gives way to a song-ending crescendo, drums and piano pounding, strings wailing, and Natasha Khan's desperate vocals soaring and echoing above.
I think of driving through the night, the strains of "Glass" seemingly enveloping everything as my car bounced along the twisting roads leading to and from the George Washington Bridge. Even with it's moments of respite, the album packs a surprising punch, a perfect companion to that solo trip- a soundtrack equally calming and invigorating. I think of waiting outside the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia, overhearing the band's sound check. I had almost convinced myself they were playing the CD, that there was no way Khan could pull the vocals I was hearing off live. She did, and the old, well-worn sanctuary proved a perfect setting for their haunting, potent live show.
As I remember these varied locations and experiences, they strike me as fitting for an album about travel, about leaving places and people behind, about searching but not always knowing what you're looking for. Though the circumstances in Khan's life that inspired this album are not identical to mine either then or now, the emotions and desires that drive it are universal. Where Fur and Gold is insular and private, Two Suns paints a vast cosmos both sonically and lyrically. It's human emotion, desire, and conflict blown up to interstellar levels. It's a rare album that takes aim at wide-screen ambition and succeeds, and one that I find has lost no potency in the ensuing years. Is to worth the cost of the import? I have to answer yes.
– Jeffrey Woldan