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At the end of last month, when Natasha Khan began using her Instagram account to tease a new release, all indications were that another Bat for Lashes record was on the way. After all, it was high time for one - The Haunted Man is nearly three years old. Plus, as the days went by and Khan's hangman drawings looked increasingly likely to be spelling out 'Sexwitch', there was no reason to believe that wouldn't be the name of a new Bat for Lashes record - from posing nude on the cover of her last LP to delving into themes of femininity and sexuality with some complexity in the past, it would by no means be conduct unbefitting.

Instead, though, Sexwitch is a collaborative effort with psych-peddlers Toy and producer Dan Carey - the next album under the Bat for Lashes moniker will apparently follow in 2016. Carey was working on The Haunted Man at the same time he was behind the desk on Toy's 2013 sophomore album; he and Khan originally bonded over a love of krautrock, so bringing them in to play on this album - one rooted deeply in psychedelia - was apparently a no-brainer. The idea was born out of 'Don't', the first track on which Khan and Toy collaborated for Carey's Speedy Wunderground label - his rules of recording for those releases are that everything has to be done in a day, with lasers and smoke swirling through the studio.

Sexwitch itself mightn't have been made in those kinds of conditions, but it absolutely sounds as if it was; this is a record that positively seeps atmospherics. Where Khan would normally opt for a show-not-tell approach in that regard on Bat for Lashes duty, here she's happy to embrace an aggressive, almost primal vocal delivery throughout; the six songs here are covers of old folk songs from around the world in the seventies, back when folk meant hippies and hypnosis, and when the songs felt focused on delivering something that felt innate and visceral.

Opener 'Ghoroobaa Ghashangan' does a good job of setting the tone; it starts out relatively gently, but gradually becomes more and more brooding, and even a little frantic in the vocals, as proceedings reach a stormy climax. 'Ha Howa Ha Howa' takes that approach even further; the rolling percussion feels tribal, and Khan's off-kilter chanting becomes increasingly erratic as the track spirals out of control. As far removed as Carey's south London studio is from the environs in which these songs were originally conceived, he, the band and especially Khan - on operatically intense form throughout - do a fine job of tapping into the beating heart of the compositions.

As expertly as that side of things is captured, though, there's plenty of evidence that this is a modern record; true to the style carved out on their own albums, Toy bring a jagged approach to the standard psych template; flashes of dissonant guitar run through 'Helelyos', 'Kassidat El Hakka' is enveloped in an ominous swirl of synth, and there's more than a touch of Twin Peaks to minimal closer 'Lam Plearn Kiew Bao' - foreboding, tick-tock percussion accompanied by a soulful turn from Khan.

Sexwitch, on paper, had plenty of scope for failure - a lofty concept carried out by collaborators who, on the surface, had little in the way of common ground - but there's a palpable affection for the source material, a genuine love of the record's psychedelic foundations and a general sense of supreme confidence that renders it a resounding success - Khan, in particular, is at the top of her game.

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