Review Summary: Indulging in the '80s music...
The beauty of Natasha Khan’s albums lies in the experience they offer as a whole. We always receive an immersive journey where the music and lyrics completely wrap themselves around you. Her gorgeous voice leads the way, whereas the cinematic songs provide all necessary details for you to vividly relive her stories. This latest affair, Lost Girls
feels like a trip back in time, fusing several ‘80s pop sounds, embellished with current synthwave (retro and dreamwave) aesthetics. While the latter share similar characteristics, she took the laid back pace and hazy synth pads reminiscent of Com Truise or The Midnight and fused them with the pumped up, sunny keyboards and sequencers of the original era. Thankfully, Natasha seems to have been carried away by these influences a bit, rather than just controlling every aspect. Also, personal details such as living in Los Angeles, often driving along the coast or through the desert while listening to music, watching the beautiful sunsets, as well as falling in love brought a welcomed change in themes and vibes. It’s like shaking off all the troubles that have been haunting you, especially when taking into account the heart wrenching predecessor, The Bride
The first half of Lost Girls
focuses mainly on protagonist Nikki Pink, who fell in love with a guy from a small desert town. Thus, the tracks switch from the playful & dancey grooves of ‘Feel for You’, which is surprisingly jolly and fun, to the smooth, mid-tempo, funky bass-led rhythms ‘The Hunger’ boasts. This is one of the highlights here, mashing previously covered grounds with current sonic directions. Plus, Khan’s voice hits some lovely peaks (available for the entire album). Meanwhile, the romantic and intimate atmosphere ‘Kids in the Dark’ and ‘Desert Man’ share is enhanced by multiple warm synthesizers. The former could have easily been featured on Tycho’s latest LP, Weather
, evoking that blissful Californian scenery and the freedom it inspires.
Nevertheless, the romance doesn’t last forever. As the two try to find out more about this vampire biker gang, The Lost Girls, Nikki is taken hostage by them. ‘Jasmine’ kicks in with those “tropical” keyboard leads that usually signaled action-filled scenes in ‘80s movies. The spoken word verses and reverbed choruses are backed by more thrilling sound scapes and followed by one of the most interesting surprises on the LP, ‘Vampires’. An instrumental ditty, the track features a bittersweet melody, spiced with saxophone solos that echo even Ulver’s Perdition City
to a certain extent. Its haunting, nocturnal vibe extends to the second half of the record, even though the music doesn’t lose its sparkle. Many of the songs back then were dancefloor-ready although the lyrics were depressing. Since Nikki became a vampire and cannot live happily with her lover, she ultimately wants to die. ‘Safe Tonight’ contains some really catchy verses that temporarily mask the impending deceit and more introspective end. The cyclic piano lines on album closer, ‘Mountain’ and pulsing bass build to a powerful climax, still, there’s nothing much the two main characters can do now. All along, Natasha’s vocals come across as mesmerizing and she manages to pull off some cheesy elements of that era.
Overall, Lost Girls
ends up as a fun record that luckily, doesn’t overstay its welcome. It has groove and substance as it takes its cues from the likes of Prince, David Bowie, Madonna, Cindy Lauper or Peter Gabriel to name a few. The best thing about this affair is that it makes good use of the ‘80s sound palette, while adding a nice, modern twist to it (you can hear some Com Truise, Tycho or The Midnight too). Even so, just like the movies from that period, you have to accept a number of cliches to truly enjoy the ride. Nevertheless, most of the tracks fare well when taken out of context and are easy to get into.