Bat For Lashes
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Bat For Lashes

Two Suns is the second studio album by Bat For Lashes. It was released on 6 April 2009 by The Echo Label and Parlophone.

Background[]

Two Suns was written and recorded around the world, from Big Sur and the Joshua Tree desert in California to the rolling Welsh countryside and the city sprawls of New York and London.[1] Recording took five months,[2] which started in 2008.[3] "Moon and Moon", "Glass", and an early version of "Daniel" were debuted live in the 2008 live shows.[4]

When Natasha started working on the album, she set out to make it vocally stronger than the previous one "with more lush electronic sounds and tribal rhythms."[5] She believed that living in Brooklyn when bands such as TV on the Radio, MGMT and Gang Gang Dance were emerging on the music scene had an influence on the album's musical style.[2]

“I started this album deciding that I wasn’t going to compromise anything and went completely with my own vision. I went to the recording studio and told the record company that they weren’t allowed to come. I got one email about feedback, asking me to drop certain tracks, and I said no. So I started off with a little bit of a thing thinking, well, this had better work because the record company were like, ‘well, you’ve been so stubborn,’ so it was all on my head.”[5]

The album explores the idea of duality (two lovers, two planets, two sides of a personality, two landscapes – the city and the desert) and metaphysical ideas concerning the connections between all existence.[6][7]

"The whole concept of this album is just that, cosmic. [...] Day and night. Two suns. Two moons. The number two keeps coming back, I think because a lot of this album is about planets. Crashing into one another, like people do. Making comets."[8]

During a visit to a planetarium in New York, Natasha visualised the album's concept when watching a exhibit's film about the forces that create new worlds. She said she could see the parallels in her own life, particularly the relationship with her then boyfriend, crushed by the weight of all the expectations she had stacked upon it.

“I just saw the two planets and I saw, on a personal level, my human relationship with another person and the crashing and the destruction and the beauty and the repercussions of what came out of it and the other entities that have been born through it. And I realised that I was a planet that had my own destiny and, perhaps, I wasn’t meant to be here. It was very emotional and very clear.”[9]

In the album, Natasha also presents an alter ego named Pearl, described by the press release as "a destructive, self-absorbed, blonde, femme fatale of a persona who acts as a direct foil to Khan's more mystical, desert-born spiritual self."[6] The alter ego was created while she lived in New York in order to personify the destructive landscape of the city.

"Perhaps Pearl fitted better in New York than I did. Or perhaps she was the personification of how destructive and lost I was feeling."[9]

In a The Sun interview, Natasha explained the album's concept:

"My boyfriend was in New York and this album reflects the whole cycle of that relationship as well as the traveling back and forth. The Two Suns are like me and him. You meet someone and you have this amazing exchange. It wasn't necessarily a quantity but a quality sort of experience with all sorts of highs and lows. It changed me for ever."

She told Spin:[10]

Two Suns is about human relationships and the use of illusion to try to see beautiful things during a hard time.”

The album title was taken from a lyric of the album opener, "Glass."[11]

"Two Suns takes you through this whole journey, all the way to the end of the relationship and the end of making the record. So it's kind of like this strange, synonymous cycle that happened. And then obviously the album's called Two Suns, so there's this kind of like "two planets" situation. Just the whole theme of planets chasing each other, you know, night and day chasing each other eternally, and being in England and New York and being separated by an ocean, and lots of different types of landscapes, different types of personalities, and internal conflict. So, all that duality stuff really came as an inspiration from that as well."[12]

Album cover[]

Two Suns's cover outtake

The album cover was shot by David Benjamin Sherry. The front cover features Natasha holding two planets in a desert landscape, and the back cover features Pearl holding two disco balls in a New York landscape.

Natasha originally worked on a painting for the album cover depicting her and Pearl drifting in the cosmos, nude and entwined, giving birth to two planets.[8] However, it was rejected by the record label.

"The front cover represents the desert and the back cover represents the city and obviously it's me in the character of Pearl, perhaps it's New York. Each of them are opposites of a whole. The two pull elements of my character at the time and what I was trying to convey and bring together.

Two mythological figures that are part of the album and the album's mythology. All of the objects I chose specifically - both of them have halos, the one on the front has a golden star and rusty, on the back it's a neon halo. There's a lot of mirroring and reflection between the two images. It represents illusion and the city and its mathematical ego-based concepts and the other has to do with the spiritual, the natural and art."[11]

Track listing[]

All songs are written and composed by Natasha Khan

No. Title Length
1. "Glass"   4:32
2. "Sleep Alone"   4:04
3. "Moon and Moon"   3:09
4. "Daniel"   4:11
5. "Peace of Mind"   3:29
6. "Siren Song"   4:58
7. "Pearl's Dream"   4:45
8. "Good Love"   4:30
9. "Two Planets"   4:48
10. "Travelling Woman"   3:48
11. "The Big Sleep"   2:54
Total length:
45:08

Special Edition[]

Two Suns Special Edition.jpg Label: Echo, Parlophone
Format: CD + DVD
Released: September 7, 2009
Barcode: N/A
Photography: Jason Nocito, Derek James (special edition cover photo)
Design: Natasha Khan (art direction, concept and booklet artwork)
No. Title Length
12. "Wilderness"   3:59
13. "Sleep Alone" (909s In DarkTimes Mix) 4:32
14. "Daniel" (Lo Fi) 4:01
15. "A Forest"   3:16
16. "Use Somebody"   2:29
17. "Good Love" (Recorded live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 19 April 2009) 5:20
18. "Daniel" (Recorded live on Radiohead tour at Nimes, 14 June 2008) 4:22
19. "Lonely" (Recorded live at Koko, 29 October 2007) 3:56
Total length:
75:43

DVD:

  • Two + Two’ - The making of Two Suns documentary.

Singles[]

  • "Daniel" was released on 1 March 2009.
  • "Pearl's Dream" was released on 22 June 2009.
  • "Sleep Alone" was released on 7 September 2009.

Artwork[]

References[]

  1. "Biography | Bat for Lashes". Batforlashes.com.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Bat For Lashes Interview". 30 March 2009. MTV UK.
  3. "October 17th". 17 October 2008. Batforlashes.com.
  4. "Bat for Lashes Concert Setlist at Arènes de Nîmes, Nîmes on June 14, 2008". Setlist.fm.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Stubbs, Stuart (21 November 2009). "A reluctant pop star, Bat For Lashes released the most personal record of 2009". Loud And Quiet.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Scott, Bruce (20 January 2009). "Album Review: Bat for Lashes – Two Suns". Prefix.
  7. "Bat For Lashes announces details for Two Suns". 13 January 2009. Paste.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Far Out Into Orbit With Bat For Lashes | Issue 170". February 2009. Dazed & Confused.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Campion, Cris (6 September 2009). "Bat for Lashes: she's not wicked, nor kooky. And don't tell her she's like Tori Amos". The Guardian.
  10. "Bat for Lashes: Bat Power". 25 March 2009. Spin.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Q&A with Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes". 19 August 2009. Westworld.
  12. Hogan, Mark (8 June 2009). "Bat For Lashes". Pitchfork.