Natasha Khan, otherwise known as Bat for Lashes, recently released her fourth studio album titled The Bride. As a full concept piece, she embraced the sense of darkness to create this beautifully depressing collection.
Inspired by a short film Khan made in 2015 called I Do, she opted to use a slow style of storytelling for her album. The story follows a bride who was left at the alter – no, not from the groom actually wanting to disappear, but instead dying in a car crash on the way to their wedding – and decided to go on their honeymoon heartbroken and alone. With the tracks seeming borderline simplistic, it allows the bride’s story to come alive.
The scene is set: the bride is standing at the alter waiting for her husband-to-be. “I Do” is sweet and romantic – the perfect way to open a concept album with such a grim tone. “Joe’s Dream,” a song in which the ill-fated groom expresses “I am falling in love.” It’s fascinating that this piece was done with that sort of perspective as he is dying, but that’s about the only thing that was interesting about it.
The one redeeming song, lasting about three minutes, on the album is the catchy, upbeat lead single “Sunday Love.” It breaks the sadness of the earlier songs. However, the song is only about how the bride-to-be sees a girl everywhere she goes. How this relates to the rest of the album, no one really knows. The eeriness of “Widow’s Peak” makes this song one that demands to be listened to through headphones to truly understand the beauty of spoken word rather than song.
Directly after “Widow’s Peak” the album slows down, embracing a lullaby-like state. The melody of “If I Knew” is moving and infected by a delicate bluesy tone while the bassline of “I will love again” is transcendent. The rest of the album is forgettable, with the same melodies and the same concept; the only difference is the words.
To be quite honest, this album is boring. There are a lot of slow, ethereal songs – which makes sense in the context of the story – but in terms of enjoying, the album drags on. Unfortunately, it is not much different from other concept pieces in which it suffers from being overly artsy where the music is very atmospheric – let’s be real, she included a thunderstorm. But, this, of course, matches her strikingly unique voice. Overall, The Bride gives mixed emotions. Of course there are beautiful moments with the captivating story, but there is a lot of potential that is lost due to the pacing of the album.