|Product Code:||V 3204|
|Artist:||Florence And The Machine |
|Label:||Virgin EMI Records (2018)|
|Genre:||Indie Pop , Pop N|
Brand new sealed album.
In 2011, The Guardian coined the phrase “the New Boring” to describe the creeping malaise the UK charts led by Adele and Ed Sheeran and their ballads and sales. Like quicksand, the New Boring devoured promising vocalists like Jessie Ware, post-“Latch” Sam Smith, and Katy B into the adult-contemporary drears. By then, Florence and the Machine had released one album (2009’s Lungs) and were gearing up for another (Ceremonials). But despite working with Britain’s finest purveyors of boring, such as “Rolling in the Deep”’s Paul Epworth, they seemed immune.
Say what you will about the gale-force drama of Lungs or the Pre-Raphaelite witching of Ceremonials: they were never boring. Florence Welch’s vocals—the oft-maligned but best part of her band—make that difficult. In Welch’s voice, “Shake It Out” or “Drumming Song” really do sound like cosmic destruction is afoot due to, respectively, a hangover or a crush shifting his feet slightly. Hers is a massively influential voice, too; almost all the so-called “indie voice” affectations of today’s pop stars either come from Sia or Florence Welch at small scale. Even her dance phase with Calvin Harris worked: Who better to convey EDM’s big, unsubtle emotions than the high priestess of big, unsubtle emotions herself?
Where there’s EDM excess, there’ll probably be a sedate comedown one album later—or, in Florence and the Machine’s case, two of them. High as Hope, like predecessor How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and the group’s MTV Unplugged stint, is supposed to be Welch’s requisite stripped-down, personal album. Unlike How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, it actually has a claim. She’s credited as a producer for the first time. The rafter-shaking anthems still exist, but they’re less often belted but delivered conversationally, like a frank chat with a friend who just happens to chat at top decibel. A couple songs attempt to be piano ballads before the big gospel choruses claw their way out of the arrangements. It’s a Florence and the Machine album with a track called “No Choir,” which says it all.