I recently reviewed the new Florence + The Machine album for The F-Word. It's the second Florence album I've reviewed for the site, and I even submitted a review of Lungs when it came out but, for various reasons, it didn't run. This was perhaps for the best, in retrospect, as I was rather, shall we say, overexcited upon reviewing it. I'm probably still pretty excited in my review of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, but I think I'm a bit more capable of reigning it in these days.
I don't think it was until 'Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)' was released that I realised just how much I'd been missing full on, emotionally drenched, powerfully vocalled, dramatic, left of centre, pop music. If you haven't been exposed to sonically powerful female vocalists (in the contemporary sense, rather than the historic sense) much recently, you tend to forgot what you're missing and compensate with music that is... if not actually inferior, just not quite what the doctor ordered. I was emerging from a particularly intense week having a semi religious experience to Laura Nyro's Eli And The Thirteenth Confession the week 'Rabbit Heart' was released as a single, and I'd had it on pre-order for weeks, waiting for it...
It helped as well that I found Welch interesting as a personality, in that she seemed to be possessed of intelligence, have refreshingly sophisticated listening habits, and an engaging personality, which is not always a given. I often avoid finding out about the personnel of bands I like because they either don't capture my interest that way, or I don't want to be disappointed, but I found myself liking Welch from the start, which is quite rare for me. I even bought NME for the first time in years in 2009 because she was on the cover (a woman on the cover of NME in 2009 was a pretty rare occurrence in itself, let alone an artist I like as well) and again in 2012 when they put her on the cover again.
While I was far from in at the beginning, not really becoming a dedicated fan until 2009, I have watched the rise and rise of Florence + The Machine with interest and excitement. I have never seen the band live, and they now play at such large venues I probably wouldn't want to, but I did watch the bands surprise headline slot at Glastonbury in June, courtesy of the BBC, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
This third album is a worthy successor to its two siblings, and hopefully the band will continue to innovate and create exciting music for many years to come.