Natasha Khan has a big heart. Behind the Bat for Lashes frontwoman’s jet-black bangs, colored feathers, eye glitter, dulcimer plucks, deafening kick drums and thundering piano lines is one of our most passionate and inquisitive indie songwriters. At first, the 31-year-old’s songs are deceptively undone and raw, but every listen reveals new details: a brilliant lyric, a bit of laughter or a whisper in the background, or an intricate piece of a melody that went unnoticed before. The homemade aspect of her work is a big clue to who she is as an artist: emotionally intelligent, earnest, and full of hope — all characteristics you can feel on her recordings, as well as hear.
Hers is also a band whose visual stylings go well with what we see when we listen to the music: a darkness that manages to be inviting, rather than scary; a penchant for dressing up the ordinary in the mystical; and a generous, sometimes reverential way of viewing other people (mostly lovers, but also audience members). There are artists like Bat for Lashes around today, but so often the lyrics behind experimental pop outfits like this are too abstract, too removed from the listener, and the visuals can feel too calculated. But Natasha Khan’s purview is equal parts mysterious and relatable, and her costumes always feel like a decoration and never a disguise.
Khan and her band are allegedly releasing their third album some time this year, and it’s bound to be an even bigger deal than her previous album, Two Suns. In the meantime, she’s released an excellent cover of “Strangelove” by Depeche Mode for Gucci’s ad campaign for the fragrance Guilty, and it gives us a sense of how this artist is becoming increasingly confident without losing the production traits she’s been known for from the beginning. Listen to the cover below.