Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE|
2009 debut album from the hotly tipped UK outfit fonted by Florence Welch. Lungs, produced by Paul Epworth, James Ford and Steve Mackay, is an intoxicating mix of delicate fragility, dark humor and twisted Tim Burton style... more »
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2009 debut album from the hotly tipped UK outfit fonted by Florence Welch. Lungs, produced by Paul Epworth, James Ford and Steve Mackay, is an intoxicating mix of delicate fragility, dark humor and twisted Tim Burton style fairy-tales. From the live favourite 'You've Got The Love' to the raw Blues-tinged 'Girl With One Eye' to the beautifully painful 'Between Two Lungs', the album is crammed with crowd pleasers. Also boasting fresh tracks like new single 'Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)', 'Drumming' - with its epic denseness, the terrifyingly brilliant 'Howl' and 'Hurricane Drunk' with it's paradoxical charms of heartbreak, love and loss, Lungs promises to leave us wanting more of the insanely captivating Florence Welch.
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The Best Album of 2009 (so far)
J. C. Petts | Seattle, WA USA | 07/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Truly a stunning album. One of the most amazing pieces of music I have heard for many years.
Florence Welch has a voice that she uses to amazing effect. It reminds me alternately of some other outstanding female vocalists, such as Grace Slick, Sonja Kristina (Curved Air), Sinead O'Connor, Dido but somehow seems to transcend all of them.
There is an intimacy and warmth she projects, combined with a great power, yet at times projects and air of frailty and vulnerability.
The music itself is pop of the highest quality, and the at-times sparse mixes move seamlessly between driving rhythms and allusive, haunting and captivating airiness.
The way that instruments such as harp are highlighted and allowed to interact with, and emphasize Florence's voice is wonderful.
The lyrics repay careful listening, being very much out of the ordinary.
Standout track of this album is Rabbit Heart (Lift It Up), but any of these songs would, to my mind, be outstanding among the very best music ever recorded.
I entitled this review "The Best Album of 2009 (So Far)", but I would not be at all surprised if I didn't hear a better album than this for several years. Truly, truly a gem."
Louder than sirens, louder than bells
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 09/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Happiness hit her like a train on a track/Coming towards her stuck still no turning back/She hid around corners and she hid under beds/She killed it with kisses and from it she fled..."
Florence and the Machine is one of those little bands that seeps in under the pop radar, and becomes a sensation based on pure talent. And Florence Welch and Co. produce a solid debut, "Lungs," that blends delicate polished instrumentals and different genres -- there's little splatters of pop, punk and soul woven together, and cemented in place by Welch's lovely voice.
It kicks off with the plucked intro of "Dog Days Are Over," with Welch's sweet voice singing about "Happiness hit her like a bullet in the head/Struck from a great height by someone who should know better than that." While it starts off as soft, ethereal pop, the melody is swathed in eruptions of orchestral pop-rock -- it gets loud'n'catchy, with Welch yelling, "The doooog days are OVER-ER/the dooooog days are ALL DONE!"
She continues the high note with "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)," a scintillatingly colorful melody that sounds like a thunderstorm in a flower garden. After that she unleashes a bunch of other great songs: the soulful "I'm Not Calling You A Liar," the urgent piano-pop of "Howl," the wandering twangy "Girl With One Eye," the bouncy wistful "Between Two Lungs," and the sweetly macabre "My Boy Builds Coffins." An especially fun one is "Kiss With A Fist," a blazing punky tune that celebrates rough'n'passionate relationships ("You hit me once, I hit you back/you gave a kick, I gave a slap/you crashed a plate over my head/and I set fire to our bed!").
But Welch and her revolving-door band really shine when the music overflows into a steady river of fiery rock'n'roll, wrapped in twisting gossamer synth and soaring rich vocals. "Howl," the hymnlike "Drumming" and the bleak "Hurricane Drunk" all fit into this category -- and these are absolutely stunning songs, if not as immediately accessible as the catchier tunes.
Florence and the Machine has a pretty unique sound -- there's a lot of punky rock'n'roll, a spattering of pop's catchiness, and some jazzy overtones woven into a few of the songs. As debut albums go, this is a pretty spectacular one, with a distinctive flavour that sounds like little else in modern music -- the closest comparison that comes to mind would be if Joanna Newsom formed a punk-rock band and went for pop stardom.
In particular, Welch has a very pretty voice -- it's a little wavery and girlish, but she sculpts it into a flickering, roaring presence in the louder songs. And she has a knack for dark, evocative lyrics ("Louder than sirens, louder than bells/sweeter than heaven and hotter than hell!") with a quirky edge ("He's made [a coffin] for himself/One for me too/One of these days he'll make one for you"). There are a few lines that need some smoothing out, but not badly enough to distract.
And the instrumentation from The Machine is a gorgeous accompaniment -- lots of rich, swirling instrumentals and straight-ahead rock'n'roll, usually depending on Robert Ackroyd's strong electric guitar and Christopher Lloyd Hayden's solid drumming. Isabella Summers wraps the album in gossamer-soft synth, and Tom Monger adds to the ethereal edge with a harp -- it also helps give it a more classical sound, rather than straight rock-pop.
Florence and the Machine's debut "Lungs" really shows why this band has been getting so much attention across the pond -- it's passionate, eclectic and a lovely piece of work. And it sounds like they'll only get better."
Welcome to Florence + the Machine
Glen Engel Cox | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 04/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard Florence + the Machine on YouTube, the home of the music video ever since Mtv became the home of inane "reality" shows. I think I must have played the videos I could find by this band ten or more times in a row. Ever since the divine Kate Bush stopped releasing albums on a bi-yearly pace (she now is on the decade-release schedule, along with Peter Gabriel), I've been missing this kind of sound: a strong voice that can span octaves who understands dynamics and has a decent production that mixes simple piano lines with driving beats and layers of overdubs that don't muddy the whole thing but give it a sense of unrestrained joy. That's about as good a description as I can give you of "Dog Days Are Over," which starts off slow with some kind of repetitive plucked string instrument (mandolin?) and Florence Welch's soft vocal, then adds handclaps, piano chords, and harp, and builds with a great bass beat, as the vocal builds in both intensity and adds an overdubbed background vocal choir. Halfway through it calms again, to catch its breath, then hits again at full steam. It's a great song, even if I have no idea what the lyrics are actually about.
And that first song isn't even as good as the next song, "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)," which combines the better parts of Bush, Sarah McLachlan, and Loreena McKennitt in a lush song picture. This is the kind of experimental rock music I yearn for, especially that break right around the one minute mark where it breaks into a huge chorus with multiple voices (or, more likely, simply overdubs by Florence). The verses have this interplay between the lead vocal and a responsive background chorus, similar to some of the songs on the back side of Hounds of Love. Yes, I can't stop comparing these songs to Kate Bush, and there's no better recommendation I can make than that. Other songs in this vein include "Drumming," "Cosmic Love," "You've Got the Love," and "Binding" (the drum part in this one, in particular, reminds me of "Running Up That Hill").
Listening to the album from the beginning, it would be easy to think that Florence was simply going to be Kate Bush-like, but there's enough variance on this album to showcase her own style. "I'm Not Calling You a Liar" is more bluesy, albeit by the way of some blues that invoives a harp and a piano instead of a steel guitar. Even more bluesy is "Girl with One Eye," which uses just guitar and drums along with Florence's vocals. The nice thing about this song, however, is that it does the soft, loud, soft thing that the first couple of songs did. "Hurricane Drunk" and "Howl" have traces of hip-hop, or at least modern R&B, in its delivery, although the vocal delivery and instrumentation are strictly this nouveau folk experience that I assume is Florence's assimilation of the last three decades of female singer-songwriters. "Kiss with a Fist" sounds like an outake from KT Tunstall's debut album, replacing all that folk sound that I've been going on about above with a guitar + drums sound that's more White Stripes, including a fuzzy feedback-laden guitar solo. This song seems to have been somewhat controversial, as the lyrics seem to describe a domestic violence situation and comes close to celebrating it, rather than providing the politically correct statement.
Overall, this is the strongest album I have heard in the last ten years. Every song has power, either in Florence's strong vocals or through the unique combination of multi-vocal choirs and acoustic rhythms (handclaps and punctuated piano chords, mostly), unlikely pairings of traditional and modern sounds, and a focus on using variance as a part of the music. That is, songs will start soft and become loud, or switch midstream between slow and fast. It's so unusual in these days of mastering everything to 11 that songs which even have soft sections like this come across as an innovation (whereas it was a prominent feature of pretty much ever progressive rock album in the 70s)."