It has been a good long while since we heard from Bat For Lashes’ lead performer Natasha Khan, so she’s decided to make a big return splash with a new group named Sexwitch. For this self-titled debut (which also features the band TOY), Khan takes on six 1970’s psych-folk tracks, covering in inimitable style. On The Echo Label Limited.
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- 538169301 / LP on The Echo Label Limited. aka Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes), TOY and Dan Carey
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- SEXWITCH by SEXWITCH
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 24 September 2015
It's generally felt (ok not generally -- it's something I think) that Natasha Khan lost her way a bit with Bat For Lashes. After the excellent ‘Two Suns’, ’The Haunted Man’ had the sound of an artist giving in to record company pressure to have a hit. Many things about it were wrong from from the cover art downwards, so it’s a sensible move to try something completely different.
Here she's teamed up with some blokes from Toy and producer Dan Carey to interpret some songs she and Carey picked up on jaunts overseas to the likes of Morocco and Iran. Straight away this is more wild and freeform than any of Khan’s previous work. She really has some voice -- on ‘Helelyos’ it stretches skywards, sounding remarkably like Siouxie (of the Banshees, y'know) as distortion and reverbs are applied to send it off into the stratosphere. Meanwhile the rhythm section keep things simple with a burbling krauty groove and eerie guitar-scapes that have a PIL feel to them. There’s a kind of wild Janis Joplin/Jefferson Airplane feel to certain tracks; 'Kassidat El Hakka’ has the jammy feel of late ’60s stoned psych outfits freaking out in those crazy days. Throughout the album her vocals are extraordinarily energetic, and kind of sexual, with all kinds of whoops, grunts and hollers. 'Lam Plearn Kiew Bao’ begins with a ‘Flowers of Romance’ style drum and bass kraut rhythm whilst Khan’s vocals rise out of nowhere - initially wordless but slowly revealing phrases as they become more intense.
This is intense, discordant, pummelling music and as a reviewer it’s one of those potentially awkward moments where I have to separate my own personal tastes (I found it 'a bit much' at times to be absolutely honest) from trying to discern what is actually good music. Our leader Phil adores it (but is "too busy with the inbox" to review it), we've sold 87 copies and it's being raved about everywhere. So there. Me -- what do I know? Intense, hypnotic, powerful. Still, shit name.
8/10 Andri Customer review, 21st October 2015
The moniker Sexwitch is apt for this side project. This is a record which literally mean for fucking. Not the mild type mind you, but one filled with wild abandon. Its all there; the repetitive, trance inducing rhythms , the screams, the chants.
This is Natasha Khan unleashed, free from the shackles that held her back in the last ( abysmal) record. Let us hope she brings some of the spirit of this project to her work in progress new record.
Oh, also, this opens doors to explore more of where the source material came from.
10/10 Kate Customer review, 19th October 2015
I love Natasha Khan's voice, and this project is the perfect vehicle for it: intense, discordant, and sensual. Each track showcases different aspects of it, and she delivers in spades; it's been in near-exclusive rotation since it arrived at my door. It sounds, to me, like fall- can be cold and harsh, but also bright and enticing, with an underlying intensity that carries throughout the album and left me breathless. It's brilliant.
The only quibble I have is that it was only released digitally in the US in October, but as I found the vinyl here, all was well.
8/10 John Lewis Customer review, 6th October 2015
Pummelling beats, hypnotic vocals, dense rhythmic sound. It's a long time since I heard anything quite like this. The sound took me back to early 80s sounds like Xmal, The Slits or the Pop Group. That dark foreboding groove that kind of lead to the driving beast that was Sisters of Mercy or the dance macabre of Danielle Dax. The tracks merge together beautifully like one mighty rhythmic beast. I have read that the lass from Bat for Lashes is involved in this project and after the greatness of her debut and the disappointment of its follow up this is a welcome , if different sounding, return to form.
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