It’s hard to imagine a pop artist who has wowed U.K. audiences on the same scale as Florence Welch. We love her red hair, kooky fashion sense but, most of all, we all seem to be in love with her epic tribal tunes that have injected the originality back into the pop scene.
Florence + the Machine manages to combine lush harps and huge choruses with grungier elements of rock, a sound that doesn’t really belong in any particular genre, and she revels in using old and uncommon instruments to give her songs character. Unlike many of today’s artists who are trying to achieve a retro sound, Florence + The Machine resists delving into synthpop, which seems to be the sound of the moment – think Hurts, Little Boots, and La Roux.
Instead, she offers her listeners something completely new and unique, taking inspiration from the past without actually imitating it. She uses weird and wonderful instruments with a very modern twist, that remarkably, has been embraced by a nation currently crazing over dance tracks (Yes, I’m blaming David Guetta for this). In fact, her music has to be the most original type out there right now.
Thankfully, new album ‘Ceremonials’ is like a ‘Lungs: Part Two’, which is a relief, because with a debut album that was so hugely successful, there was a danger that an album with a brand new sound would alienate her fan base. Retained from that hugely successful debut album is the right mix of indie rock, pop and soul but with a tad more soul.
The new album title ‘Ceremonials’ describes the overall vibe perfectly – there is something very traditional and ritualistic about Florence’s new direction, which can be detected straight away on the first two singles.
The first single from the album ‘What The Water Gave Me’ hints at this enriched soul sound, with a chanting effect that is a little eerie, but packed with emotion, particularly in the song’s climax, where Florence is joined by a choir. In the video, she dances around frantically, leading and encouraging the singers to give it their all (in between invading the legendary Abbey Road studios, and is a must-see).
The latest offering ‘Shake It Out’ is a fabulous feel-good anthem with dramatic organs and a thumping beat mirroring your heart beat. The song seems to have been written with the sole purpose of making everyone swing around, let loose and go crazy with emotion, which can only be a good thing.
With a new album that has a new direction, but retains the same spirit that we know and love Florence for, all we can do is to surrender and allow ourselves to be hypnotised by her cosmic brand of Pop. Hail Florence + The Machine!
Words by Martin Ward
Ceremonials is released on October 31st