Bat for Lashes Welcomes New Life on 'The Dream of Delphi'

BY Josh KorngutPublished May 31, 2024


A lot has transpired in Natasha Khan's life since the release of her previous Bat for Lashes record, the neon-hued, desert-vampire concept album Lost Girls. She transitioned to a new record label while simultaneously embracing motherhood and welcoming her first child, a daughter named Delphi. Amidst these transformations, the pop experimentalist quietly nurtured another new life, crafting The Dream of Delphi, an album that delves into the mysteries of conception and the intricacies of postpartum joy.

The Dream of Delphi, a musical diary chronicling the raising of new life, arrives four years after the birth of Khan's daughter. The album's opening title track sets the stage for a unique Bat for Lashes experience: dreamy, dark and strikingly femme. It's in perfect harmony with the album artwork, featuring Khan on a cliffside, her arms high above her head as a rough ocean and sunset-lavender sky merge into the endless expanse behind her. It's Bat for Lashes at her finest, and I'm glad that she chose to conclude the album with an even dreamier extended cut of the same track.

Then comes "Christmas Day," a mild foreshadowing of what's to come, tonally. "You're a gift," whispers Kahn earnestly. "You're from me / But you're not mine." While lovely, it's a moment that's easy to find a touch cringey. This track, along with "The Midwives Have Left" and "Her First Morning," lean a little too far into the syrupy depths of new motherhood's sweetness. It reminds me of Tori Amos's own maternal opus, The Beekeeper, which also suffers from similarly unfiltered shmaltz. But Khan, like Amos, always manages to steer her sky ship away from anything too cliche with the help of profound lyrics and expert production.

"Home" arrives halfway, a caffeinated centrepiece to remind listeners that they're dealing with an artist still capable of noisy, groundbreaking pop. Catchy, snappy and emotionally charged, it grounds the project with one of its few moments of genuine accessibility. It even harkens back to Kahn's earlier songs, like Two Suns' generation-defining "Daniel." "Letter to My Daughter" also offers some digestible beauty, its production chirpy and sparkling beneath vocals celebrating new life. While I would've liked to hear more moments like these, it's an unfair expectation from the most mature and experimental Bat for Lashes album yet.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend The Dream of Delphi to someone unfamiliar with Khan's previous work as Bat for Lashes. But for fans who've been along for the ride for the past two decades of Khan's fascinating career, it's a beautiful glimpse into an artist's journey into motherhood. While it can be embarrassingly earnest at times, impressively, the music never comes across as self-conscious or unsure. As always, Khan is unapologetically herself, and we're welcome to come along for the ride if we'd like. I'm happy I did.


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