Florence + The Machine searches for its wandering impulses, no matter what twisty paths it takes.
When Florence + The Machine started just over a decade ago, the UK scene was dominated by the typical retro-soul of Amy Winehouse and Adele. Florence Welch was also looking back. But her influences were both older and more modern, marrying the gothic melodramatic of the Brontës with a neo-romantic exoticism reminiscent of Kate Bush, bound together by a secret intensity, which made Florence Welch an eternal rambunctious child, a feminist warrior and a listening sister.
In Florence + The Machine’s fifth album, she’s still heroically searching for her wandering muse, no matter what twisty path that might take her. “I need my empty halls to echo with grand self-mythology,” she sings on the opening track, “King,” adding, “Cause I am no mother, I am no bride, I am king.”
Dance Fever might be Florence Welch’s most ecstatic work to date. Listen to “Free,” a titanic synth-rock hit in which she describes how epiphanies twist her mind and body like uncontrollable shocks. Or “Choreomania”, a spiritual catharsis that takes its title from the “dancing mania” that crossed Europe through the Renaissance. ‘Heaven Is Here’ is a swinging breath of Celtic hedonism and on ‘Daffodil’ she sings about torment that transcends generations with ‘the helpless optimism of springtime’.
Co-producers Jack Antonoff and Dave Bayley (Glass Animals) helped Florence Welch hone her pop instincts without cutting back on her opening ambitions. She states that the album was influenced by her desire to break free from the pandemic. Among the slower, dreamier moments are “Back in Town,” which is about a trip to New York after the lockdown ends, and “Girls Against God,” in which she sings about her latent desire leading to a rollercoaster ride. meditations on memory, loss, rage, desire and conflict.
Florence Welch has always trained with graceful gestures. “Have I learned to restrain myself? she wonders. Spoiler: not that much. For her, the mythical moments are the only ones that matter; listen to “Cassandra” and the conclusion “Morning Elvis”. But her lyrical excesses can hide the musical nuance she’s amassed on albums like How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful (2015) and the delightfully experimental High As Hope (2018).
This album culminates in ‘My Love’, reminiscent of Everything But The Girl’s introspective house revamped with moonlight illuminating the moors. Florence Welch talks about the feeling of emptiness in mid-2020. But she twists that bad vibe with her cry from the heart with her signature disco-diva, asking where to put her love (“Tell me where to put my love”). No matter the trials that the world submits to him, no artist would be satisfied with it.
Translated by the editor
Here is the tracklist and:
- Back in Town
- Girls Against God
- Dream Girl Evil
- prayer factory
- Heaven Is Here
- Mon Amour
- The Bomb
- Morning Elvis
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Florence + The Machine: Ecstatic Prayer
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