Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: album reviews, BBC Sound of 2009, Brits Critics' choice section, Dresden Dolls, Florence and the Machine, Florence Welch, Lily Allen, Lungs, Mercury Prize, PJ Harvey, Releases of the Week
PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Florence + The Machine ‘s “Kiss with a Fist” MP3
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts
One would think that “angry girl” music would have died with the ’90s, but music fans everywhere can hardly be that lucky. As long as there are screwed up relationships and overly emotional “artistes” we can look forward to raging outpours clogging up our iTunes. While Florence + The Machine fit that profile, unlike most love-hating, morbid musical arrangements, their debut release Lungs is a vicious composition, as angry as it is intellectual and nonchalant.
Florence + the Machine is focused around Florence Welch, with an always-transforming supporting cast. While they are just emerging on this side of the pond, the band has been tearing through the British music scene since early July, gaining quite a lot of notoriety in a miniscule time span. Among the early accolades, the band won both the Brits Critics’ Choice section and Studio8’s Female Voice of July 2009, and were nominated for BBC Sound of 2009 and the Mercury Prize. Need we say more?
Melodious harp shimmers, cacophonous drum-sets and on-the-spot piano keys, phenomenal on their own, are a mere palette for Welch’s intense vocals that can only be described as a love child of PJ Harvey and Lily Allen. Welch finds an unattainable balance between sweet, downright adorable melodies and deranged, borderline daunting lyrics with each track.
You’d think with lines like “I’m going out, I’m going to drink myself to death… I brace myself because I know it’s going to hurt,” Florence + The Machine would be aiming for the title of quintessential high-school emo-band, but that is hardly the case. As overly dramatic and depressing as the lyrics may come off with the first listen, there is also a delicate simplicity, which comes out impeccably through Welch’s vocals.
The melodies range from monotone jingles, to over-the-top orchestral arrangements. It walks along the lines of Dresden Dolls, with soaring high pitches and cacophonous transitions. The album skillfully avoids getting boring and hard to digest, with appropriate melodic reliefs throughout.
Overall the album is an extremely successful first attempt. Lungs has definitely gotten our positive attention. It’s an acquired taste, getting better by the listen, so be sure to give it the time it deserves.
— Irina Dvalidze