Pryor Stroud: Bat for Lashes’ Natasha Kahn has a voice that seems to be perpetually emptied of substance: over the expanse of one note, it crumples from a strong-willed, standing-its-ground voice-body into a translucent apparition desperately clinging — but ultimately drifting — from its former life. It dies before you, but then, through subtly electricity, claims reanimation. Which is to say, listening to Bat For Lashes is listening to an interminable process of reincarnation marked, in equal measure, by the hurt of loss and the jubilation of feeling alive for the first time. “In God’s House,” Kahn’s latest single, instantiates this process with what is arguably her most vividly ethereal vocal performance to date; the lyric is disarmingly ominous, and a sequence of falling-through-the-ice synth textures suggest that this ominousness should not be dismissed as a mere presentiment. The track puts Kahn in the psycho-spiritual headspace first imagined by Brian Wilson in “God Only Knows,” a headspace wherein the loss of a loved one represents an entry into an unknowable nether-dimension, but its no longer a romantic flight of the imagination, but a cold fact: her lover has died “on the beach,” leaving her alone in a church of vaulted ceilings and with the knowledge that God couldn’t care less what she is without him. [8/10]
Emmanuel Elone: From the sweet melodic phrases to the vibrant soprano voice of Bat For Lashes, “In God’s House” is a beautiful, if not haunting, piano ballad. The lyrics are vague and enigmatic, with just enough concrete detail to captivate the listener. Even the electronically-tinged melodies, though light, do not become boring or dull as the song progresses. As the track nears its end, it actually becomes more gorgeous, with sweeping harp notes fluttering around. “In God’s House” sounds like a tamer version of Björk while still keeping all of the energy and emotion that makes the latter’s work so enthralling. [7/10]
Chad Miller: The melody is beautifully dramatic without being overly so.The excellent mood created is heavily benefited by Natasha Khan’s vocal presence which is both smart and instinctively powerful, pulling you into every moment of the story. [9/10]
Chris Ingalls: I like Natasha Khan’s ability to take something different from each of the artists who’ve clearly influenced her — a little Siouxsie Sioux here, a little Björk there, here’s some Kate Bush and a dash of Tori Amos — but it rarely seems derivative, and she manages to put her own unique stamp on everything. What starts out as pretty nice, dark mid-tempo dancefloor chillout track suddenly turns into a gorgeous, drum-free chorus complete with some very 1982-sounding keyboard nostalgia. She’s looking forward while still gazing back towards her idols. Retro, but hardly corny. [8/10]
Bat For Lashes’ new album The Bride releases July 1st.