This ‘Florence and the Machine’ review was written by Marc Simonsson, a GIGsoup contributor.
The infamous third album! After a popular hit-heavy first album, many musicians slightly veer off course for their second release but largely stick to a similar formula in order to sustain the momentum of their previous success. So the third album represents an opportunity for a band to reinvent itself, which can pose a threat of undoing the positive results of their previous work and thus alienating their fan-base.
Florence and the Machine have indeed played the reinvention card with their third LP, ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’, but it is safe to say that no damage will be inflicted by their latest creation. Their third album should enhance Florence Welch’s reputation as one of the most talented female artistes, not just in the UK, but worldwide.
‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ is biographical of Welch’s life since her last album and considering that the last couple of years have been slightly tumultuous for the singer this release could have been a musically frenetic.
However, Welch and her band have released an impressive repertoire with ‘Various Storms and Saints’ and ‘Long & Lost’, which focus on the beauty and range of Welch’s voice and present the band’s capability to play the delicate as well as the thunderous. Whilst some bands lose their raw essence by their third album, ‘Florence and the Machine’ have produced and impressive sound – a mature hardened sound that is stripped back at the same time. With the help of creative forces including producer Markus Dravs, Paul Epworth and Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, they have been able to blend organic and electronica elements into their music, whilst also retaining their original identity and voice.
Hard-core fans of the band need not worry though – The Machine is still as powerful as ever. Where the drums have been toned down in sections, they have simply been replaced by more varied and bigger sounds. Whether it is the introductory string section of ‘Queen of Peace’, the dramatic closing brass section arrangements of the title track, or the pulsating guitar riffs of ‘Mother‘, the album still contains the infectious oomph that is the trademark of the artist.
This is an impressive addition to the Florence and the Machine catalogue and will no doubt go on to affirm Florence Welch as one of the leading lights in this genre.
‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ is out now on Island Records
The full track-listing for ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ is as follows…
‘Ship To Wreck’
‘What Kind of Man’
‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’
‘Queen of Peace’
‘Various Storms & Saints’
‘Long & Lost’