Ms. Natasha Kahn is clever. Cleverer than you and I because it was she, Ms. Lashes herself, who had the damn fine idea to get New York’s Yeasayer to contribute bass and programming to her second album. Together they have managed an album of seductiveness, with something of the night about every track.
If her first offering, Fur And Gold, was an enjoyable feast of oddities and curios – sometimes sublime and sometimes, well, -quirky’, this album is galvanises her heart-break voice and picturesque lyrics. While it’s an album with a very full sound, there’s no excess noise on it. It treads a path crossing from just her voice and a piano, to subtle synth beats (thank you ’80s revival) and all the while telling tales of destruction (involving a lot of fire in fact) circling affairs of the heart. The images conjured all seem to depict love being torn off it’s axis in one way or another. While the world burns of course. Just what you need to bring you into summer.
The album opens on the song -Glass’ into a world that Peter Jackson could only dream of – crystal towers, hot white diamonds and, of course, two suns spinning. Kahn’s voice soars to operatic heights in some parts and Yeasayer’s helping hand sets the scene for the lyrics perfectly. The first half of the album continues with this mood with delicious, fuzzy bass in parts and, when required, just the piano and voice and some subtle background elements. Plus there’s key changes in -Moon And Moon’ that could make all but the strongest weep a tear, the musicianship and composition being superb.
The second half allows some tin-drum, hand-clap fun to creep into the least conventional track here, -Two Planets’. In fact it’s let down by a slightly pretentious vocal intro. That intro and the lyric, ‘hang on travelling woman’ in the next song are the only somewhat lazy parts to this package. Redemption comes in the albums closing number which features Mr. Scott Walker’s falsetto in a classic slow burner of a final track. It even references -curtains’ and has a very subtle Berlin-cabaret feel.
As good a sign as any, the immediate thought at the end of playing Two Suns is to play it again and like a mobius strip it works perfectly on a loop. This is a much more expertly formed collection, given real depth and atmosphere by Yeasayer and the strong writing and singing of Ms. Kahn. You won’t go wrong immersing your ears in the burning melancholy here. With spring on the cusp, this is the finest album of the first quarter of 2009.