With its contagious aura of revelry and high sense of spirituality, Natasha Khan’s latest project initially proves quite alluring. Despite being a cover album, Sexwitch is surprisingly creative and certainly succeeds in crafting a sense of improvisation. This does, however, often lead to a lack of real substance; the more focused tracks such as “Helelyos” and “Ghoroobaa Ghashangan” suffer from being surrounded by less concentrated, more repetitive songs that at times border on tedious.
It is consequently difficult for Sexwitch’s stronger moments to stand out, as they ultimately merge with the rest of the record to form a work that feels captivating, yet ultimately unfinished. This said, impressive vocal performances and a rhythm section that proves immensely gratifying in its tribal nature ensure Sexwitch makes for an enjoyable — if limited — experience. If nothing else, it’s a release that exhibits Khan’s voice to be even more dynamic than we expected, which is something I hope to see endure for the new Bat for Lashes LP next year.
6 out of 10
I’ve seen words like ‘transcendent’ and ‘psychedelic’ thrown around in relation to Sexwitch, and I just don’t see it. Vaguely hip covers of eastern folk songs with an echo effect on the vocals does not enlightenment create — at least I hope not. Admittedly, I’m being a little meaner than the album deserves, but I just don’t find it terribly seductive. It does very occasionally brush the ethereal heights it seems to be going for, but only enough to draw its more monotonous aspects into sharper focus.
In my mind *Sexwitch *is far more interesting as a creative exercise than it is as a work in its own right. Between the breathless tribal percussions of tracks like “Kassidat El Hakka” and the lucid vocal work of Natasha Khan throughout, there’s plenty of individual elements to like and reflect on. It’s a pleasant and valuable little oddity; it just isn’t much of an album.
6 out of 10
A collaboration featuring Natasha Khan was a welcome surprise this year. This eponymous debut consists of six cover version of ’70s folk music from around the world – certainly an interesting idea on paper as far as I’m concerned.
The first thing to notice is how much more freedom Natasha Khan has to explore with her vocals here in comparison to Bat For Lashes. If only one thing could influence a future Bat For Lashes LP, her reverb soaked, ghostly vocals, especially in tracks like “Kassidat El Hakka”, would be my immediate choice. “Toy”, the instrumentation side of the collaboration, certainly provide some good backing, with drone-like bass synths and twinkling leads and a lovely tone on the bass all being highlights throughout the album.
With all that said, too many tracks tracks (and its a short album) do feel as though they haven’t covered a lot of new ground, and especially given the initially great impression that each track made on me and the length of these tracks, it’s a big shame we don’t hear more exploration. I suspect this would be mostly alleviated when played live however, so I am still eager to see where this collaboration goes from here.
6 out of 10