Ever since the birth of Florence + The Machine back in 2007, we as listeners have had the pleasure of witnessing the creation and rise of one of Britain’s greatest musical exports. We last heard from this outfit way back in 2011 with their sophomore album Ceremonials. It garnered them multiple award nominations over seas and the lead single “Shake It Out” was a massive success for the band. Fast forward to today. The much-anticipated third album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful has hit the shelves and it delivers a punch a kin to Ivan Drago from Rocky IV.
Childhood friends Florence Welch and Isabella Summers (Summers nickname was “The Machine”) continue their dominance of the British rock/soul sound on this new album. We’ve heard the teasers and slowly released tracks online (“Delilah” and “Ship To Wreck”) but the album, as a whole is pretty vigorous and intriguing. Welch is once again the dominant songwriter. She has the innate ability to express uniformity within her lyrics. In “What Kind Of Man” she belts out the line “what kind of man loves like this” during the chorus and it makes one think maybe she was treated poorly in a romantic relationship, so I should feel sorry for her. Thing is, it’s sung with such fury and conviction that you know she’s moved on and is now supremely pissed at the former situation. Maybe she is now a confident soul, shredding a path through a scarred world, hers.
The album blends the slow and pure sound of Welch’s voice with instrumental crescendo behind her; as perfectly displayed within the title track. The next minute however, she could be tearing on your mind, toying with it but ultimately she makes you smile. That kind of smile that happens when you’re chilling with a record, your headphones and a sweet bean bag chair, listening to a new song (“Delilah”) for the first time and it bloody well blows your mind.
As we move forward through the tracks we land on “Third Eye.” For me it’s these type of songs where Florence + The Machine shine. The harmony of Welch and Summers, the cohesiveness of the musicianship behind them and such a beautiful vocal delivery. The end of the track is gorgeous and really reminded me of a song Written by Ingrid Michaelson titled “The Chain” (a songwriter worth dabbling in). It was just beautifully delivered.
Welch, Summers and the rest of the machine have not disappointed us with this soulfully crafted piece of art. I highly recommend picking up a copy if Flo is even remotely on your radar. This could be the album that propels you from average fan to refreshing the ticketmaster page every thirty seconds at 10am for an upcoming gig.