A "sophisticated blend of art-rock grandeur and synth-pop directness" is a nice concise way of describing The Haunted Man. Definitely more continuity between that and Ms. Khan's previous work than I expected, probably because the first single 'Laura' wasn't representative of the album's sound. That song was penned by the guy behind 'Video Games', and I'm not wild about his whole shtick. The rest of the album is more propulsive and anthemic, and feels like a truer reflection of what Bat for Lashes is all about.
When I first listened through, I was readying a quip about how Khan had progressed from epic fantasy to magical realism. But again, there's more continuity than that. Although that eye-catching album cover suggests a Bat for Lashes stripped back, unadorned, in fact the picture is just as carefully composed and symbolically rich as the previous album covers were.
My favourite song is the anthem-not-anthem 'A Wall', its shimmering synth tones suggestive of a morning mist shrouding a day and a landscape pregnant with wild transformative possibilities, its rolling drums tugging at your heels and urging you to run out into that brave new world.