Single of the Month: Bat for Lashes' 'A Wall'
Releases from David Bowie, Atoms for Peace, Rachel Sermanni, Bo Ningen and Hervé also reviewed
Among several new tracks being released into the wild early on this year, perhaps the most surprising announcement was David Bowie’s return to action with ‘Where Are We Now?’ (●●●, Iso/Columbia) followed by his first album in ten years, The Next Day, in March. This single is a slow-burning nostalgia trip through retro Germany, but gets more touching – and interesting – with every listen.
Elsewhere, London-based Japanese group Bo Ningen team up with Savages’ Jehnny Beth to pipe out a scatty new version of ‘Nichijyou’ (●●●, Stolen Recordings) that is as confusing as it is mildly terrifying.
Meanwhile Thom Yorke’s long-gestating new project Atoms for Peace finally release live favourite ‘Judge, Jury and Executioner’ (●●●, XL). It’s a laidback, electronic chiller, familiar enough to please Radiohead fans but ripe with otherworldly potential. (AFP’s debut album Amok will be out on 25 Feb.)
Scottish songwriter Rachel Sermanni pays her respects to Robert Burns with a tender version of ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ (●●●, Middle of Nowhere), to be released on – you guessed it – Burns’ Night, while Hervé – formerly The Count with fellow DJ/producer, Sinden – teams up with Katie Stelmanis of Canadian electro-goths Austra for first single ‘Save Me’ (●●, Cheap Thrills). Sadly, this flaccid abuse of synths and sluggish downbeat doesn’t bode well for his forthcoming second album.
Bat for Lashes (pictured) however, safely leads the charge this month and scores Single of the Month with ‘A Wall’ (●●●●, Parlophone), the next single from her acclaimed 2012 album The Haunted Man. This melancholy cut showcases the contrast of Natasha Khan’s soft, beautiful voice and pained, brittle lyrics in entrancing fashion.