Bat For Lashes: The Bride

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This remarkable album follows the story of a woman whose fiancé is killed in a crash on the way to the church for their wedding (complete with Leader Of The Pack-style sound effects).

The bride goes ahead with the honeymoon on her own and the album reflects on meditation on love, loss, grief, and celebration. It is a little dark in places but elsewhere stirring and uplifting.

Opener I Do is almost heart-breaking the first few plays, basically just Khan singing over an omnichord (a zither-based instrument that sounds like a harp). “Tomorrow you will take me for bride / And all of the grey skies will blow away,” says the soon-to-be-bereft bride-to-be.

Equally tender is Joe’s Dream, a beautiful ballad with a pulsing electronic beat that is probably a happy heart beating. “I finally found my pot of gold,” sings the bride, though there is a portent of doom as the bridegroom sees angels in the doorway.

There’s a gloomier pulsing beat for In God’s House, the bride waiting for her beau at the altar. He of course is driving into a tree or being T-boned by a drunk, or whatever it is that leads to his demise. Cue car crash effect.

Honeymooning Alone is as gloomy and unsettling as it sounds, though there is some melody. Sunday Love picks up the pace with a Human League-style dirty electronic opening and a soaring chorus, an early standout. Never Forgive The Angels — presumably these are the angels who never warned semi-hubby sufficiently in track two — is a slow song but its Celtic folky gait means it never drags. Instead of a heavenly chorus, bagpipes would not have been a surprise.

And so it goes, until we get I Will Love Again, a pulsing Sigur Rós style tune and In Your Bed, the closing track, which suggests the bride has met someone else. Send ‘em home happy, as Shakespeare always said.

It’s a strong album that’s more than just a collection of songs, and while it has its flaws, it’s pretty remarkable.

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