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Monday, January 11, 2010

Lungs Florence The Machine

Best Buy Lungs Florence + The Machine [Enhanced]

Album Lungs

by Florence + The Machine

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1. Dog Days Are Over

2. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

3. I'm Not Calling You A Liar

4. Howl

5. Kiss With A Fist

6. Girl With One Eye

7. Drumming Song

8. Between Two Lungs

9. Cosmic Love

10. My Boy Builds Coffins

11. Hurricane Drunk

12. Blinding

13. You've Got The Love

# Audio CD (6 Jul 2009)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Enhanced
# Label: Island Records Group

Florence Welch, better known alongside her band as Florence + The Machine, confidently announces her arrival on Lungs. With several strong singles taking up a fair portion of this debut release, it's clear that Welch is as much a pop writer as she is a left-field artist, despite the early influence of punk and grunge on her life. Musically, these influences are tempered by an admiration for soul and contemporary indie. Welch also received the Critics' Choice award at the Brits in 2009, usually a sign of big things to come. Includes the singles "You've Got The Love" and "Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)".

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Reviews Best Buy Lungs Florence + The Machine [Enhanced]

Florence and the Machine for me is the glorious sound of someone who has sat down with a piano and a drum kit having just listened to too much Tori Amos and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Florence has a strangely ethereal voice helped along by the slight echo in quieter moments of the songs and the layered choral like backing vocals. The sound is deceptive. It is simultaneously demanding and seductive. The drums are relatively simple designed for no other reason than to drive the songs. The piano adds melody in support of Florence's voice and if you listen carefully there are subtle layers an nuances in it that will slowly be uncovered as you listen more.
To follow all this Florence and the Machine could not hope for a better debut. It is simply a joy to listen to. The tracks fly by but you remember every beat of them. `Dog Days are Over' is a brilliant start and following this with the most recent single adds a nice bit familiarity. Tracks like `Howl' and `Kiss with a Fist' are then great additions before the rhythmic genius of `Drumming Song'. It then gets a little more widescreen and epic in its sound with the combination of `Between Two Lungs' and `Cosmic Love'. It then relaxes down to a more intimate and personal sound for the final three tracks which round off the whole album nicely.

I see this album as a great, crazy achievement in itself, and as a wake-up call to some other artists. OK, so it isn't a competition - it's never been that - but there are plenty of successful artists out there who seem content with "less". One thing I've discovered from my journeys around continental metal is that "more" is an important part of the emotional hook: I think of it in terms of colour and texture. And this album is brimming over with colour and texture.

To those who are disappointed that this Florence isn't quite the same as the live Florence, I'd say that the drama of the live gigs surely couldn't really work in the longer term - not if you're planning to put the CD on repeat. The studio version of "Bird Song" on the bonus CD has a rather different character compared to the YouTube videos, but it works perfectly well for me.

Some reviewers have made comparisons with other singers, past and present. On "My Boy Builds Coffins", I hear something of the style of the late and much-missed John Martyn. Personally, I don't hear much Kate Bush in Florence's approach (stay away from those squeaky high notes please, Florence!), but she herself mentions Grace Slick as one of her influences and, well, perhaps something of that shows through. The key to Grace's way of singing, apparently, was that she was trying to emulate the sound of the electric guitar. That's a kind of madness in itself - and madness of a very special kind is something that Florence promises to deliver much more of in the future.

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