Natasha Khan's "Pearl" alter ego returns?
The haunting goes in all directions on Bat for Lashes' magnificent 2012 album, The Haunted Man, one of SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2012. The specter of war haunts the male characters, but "your ghosts have got me, too," Natasha Khan sings at one point, and on the cover she literally carries a man's weight on her shoulders. It should go without saying the record is haunting for the listener, too. "The Wall," a vocoder-inhabited electro-pop song with synth work by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, puts even more of the burden on Khan's lyrical protagonist, a situation that comes surreally to life in yet another spellbinding video from the album.
An additional specter manifests itself in the form of a blond-wigged Khan, as her similarly masterful 2010 album Two Suns involved a blond alter ego-like character named Pearl. Or maybe she's "Marilyn"? Directed by Noel Paul, who also helmed the beach-semaphor clip for Gotye-transcending stunner "All Your Gold," shows Khan at a strangely sedate party with actor Harry Treadaway, whose slight figure looks quite a bit like that of the man on The Haunted Man's album cover. He's wearing something furry, and he's clearly somehow unwell. Haunted, even.
A labyrinth-like hedge, through which the two fail to escape, subtly evokes the song's hook: "Where you see a wall, I see a door." Meanwhile, Khan nuzzles her uncanny man, whose odd attire also distantly recalls the fallen angel in R.E.M.'s classic, Gabriel García Márquez-inspired "Losing My Religion" video. It's not giving away too much to point out Khan looks happier, and more like herself, by the video's end — the wig comes off! — but all in all it's a vibrantly creative, beguiling look at the things we carry into our relationships. And how we keep each other from falling down.