Bat For Lashes
The Boys of Summer (ep)
Bat For Lashes
I’ve long been a fan of covers that go deep beyond anything resembling a ‘novelty factor’; covers where the artist (always a gifted songwriter of course) takes apart a classic track and rebuild it, not to make it better but simply to better understand it – or to make it relevant for them and in their world.
One such example that is glorious and hopeful and tragic and beautiful all at once is Bat For Lashes reworking of the Unofficial Boomer Anthem by Don Henley that titles and opens this brand new EP.
In one fell swoop Bat For Lashes reassembles this song to reflect the views of a new generation, a new narrator, a whole new world – she shifts the song into a moody, introspective ballad that hangs in a haze of synthy keyboard-wash (the way so many of the best Bat songs do). And she does all of this by doing one clever thing: removing the rhythm track. That was the driver of Henley’s song – and by pulling that out she is able to reimagine the song entirely. It’s a similar trick to when Tori Amos winningly reminded people that Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit was and is a song – not merely a riff.
Like Amos, Natasha Khan has, as Bat For Lashes, been both fondly and cruelly compared to Kate Bush. And she appeared to tackle that head-on across her most recent shows, covering Bush’s late-80s gem, This Woman’s Work. And because Khan is a child of the 80s – and it’s all through her music – she performed This Woman’s Work as part of a set that also included a rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s I Drove All Night and this Henley piece.
So here now is the version. Glorious. Resplendent. It’s joined on this four-track EP by two alternate takes of songs from her most recent full studio album – first a beautiful solo piano version of Desert Man and finally an organ version of The Hunger, which gives it a Bjork-like lurch; not entirely dissimilar to when Neil Young uses the pump organ to reframe old audio pictures from his back-catalogue.
In between those two songs is what Khan introduces as “a golden oldie” – a gossamer ‘music box version’ of her significant 2009 hit, Daniel. She’s in full breathy Tori Amos mode here, vocally. Her voice is not at all similar – but the style of singing and the way it hovers in and around the piano playing is dead-on.
A great wee EP here from a brilliant artist. Add it to your collection if you’re a fan, make it your introduction if you’re not already.
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