Following her split from Irish alt-rockers Ash, Charlotte Hatherley toured as a member of Bat for Lashes’ live band in between solo outings. As one might expect, it would seem to be time well spent, for it appears that the theatricality of Natasha Khan had an impact on Hatherley’s latest project, Sylver Tongue, her most drastic departure from Ash’s infectious, punk-tinged guitar-driven sound yet.
Hatherley and Khan share a flair for the dramatic, but Sylver Tongue favors a sci-fi feel over Lashes’ mysticism. On “Creatures”, frenzied new wave synths zoom with an unrelenting glam stomp, moving at a pace that renders pausing for breath an impossibility. It’s akin to suddenly awaking in a space opera, but the voyage is too fast and fun to be frightened by the incomprehensible creatures, let alone ponder their implications.
On the EP’s title track, it’s ’80s night on whatever planet Sylver Tongue is inhabiting. A mechanical clatter that recalls early Depeche Mode highlights this dance-floor friendly electro pop, while Hatherley’s vocal melodies adopt a robotic but disconcertingly warm level of distortion. “Hook You Up” and “Faraway Sun” are less catchy variations of the glam-gone-intergalactic style, but are still a pleasure to behold. Thanks to the thrills behind Hatherley’s spin on otherworldly synthpop, Something Big’s title just might prove prophetic.
Essential Tracks: “Creatures”