Bat For Lashes–Laura

You’re the train that crashed my heart/You’re the glitter in the dark                                                         Oh Laura, you’re more than a superstar

Natasha Khan has done some of her best work in the second person.  For whatever reason, singing to someone tends to bring out a beautiful honesty in her writing.  Daniel, from Bat For Lashes album Two Suns, was her first hit and netted her an Ivor Novello.  She must have realized it was a winning format for her when she followed it up with Laura, one of her most haunting songs.  It’s a triumph both in knowing what will work perfectly and what will not work at all.  Despite her frequent use of inventive percussion, Khan understands the power of letting a song remain unaccompanied by drums (see The Big Sleep).  Here it’s just her pleading voice, a quietly forceful piano, a somber touch of cello and the bright hopefulness of a french horn for the finale.  By keeping the instrumentation simple, she can push the emotion in her voice without sounding overwrought.  It’s exactly what’s needed as she addresses a friend who burns a bit too brightly.  She speaks to her with soft concern to heartbreaking effect.  You can hear equal measures of sadness and love in her voice.  It’s the ultimate act of kindness for a friend who is spinning out of control.

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