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Bat for Lashes

Who? The latest in the line of talented British females to storm our shores (Lily Allen, Lady Sovereign, Amy Winehouse, etc.), Bat for Lashes is the stage name for Brighton-based singer/songwriter Natasha Khan. Fur and Gold, her full-length debut for the Caroline imprint out next month, has earned Khan famous fans like fellow Brits Jarvis Cocker and Thom Yorke, as well as sold-out shows overseas and critical praise for her dark and delicate mysticism.

What’s the Deal? Fur and Gold‘s ethereal-looking cover — a somber-faced Khan in a nouveau Native American get-up alongside a majestic black horse — and her preference for antiquated instrumentation may peg her as England’s answer to Joanna Newsom, but, happily, Khan complicates that comparison. Her voice, though as eccentric as Newsom’s, careens from Björk’s soaring and innocent inflections (“Horse & I”) to PJ Harvey’s husky whisper (“I Saw a Light”). And Khan counterbalances any precious piano and harpsichord twinkles with strong drums (“What’s a Girl to Do?”) and quirky handclaps (“Prescilla”).

Fun Fact: Best excuse for sleeping on the job? According to her website, the inspiration for the album’s harpsichord-heavy Joan of Arc ode, “Horse & I,” came to Khan in a dream. BRIANA MOWREY

Now Hear This: Bat for Lashes – “Horse and I” DOWNLOAD MP3

On the Web: Bat for Lashes at MySpace

Talk: Are you batty for Bat for Lashes?

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