Following a successful replacement headline slot at Glastonbury, Lauren Edwards reviews Florence and the Machine’s summer offering, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.
“It’s definitely big. It’s definitely beautiful.”
Florence and the Machine
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Island Records, 1 June 2015
[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]he Queen of soulful melodies is back. Indie Rock band Florence and The Machine hits it up with a new album of pure brilliance. This brilliance of How big, How blue, How beautiful doesn’t just lie in the magic of Florence’s vocals but the heart breaking stories behind each individual song.
The bewitching lyrics of love and heartbreak is the only connection these songs have with one another. How big, How blue, How beautiful has a familiar Florence softness, but the dynamic fight with emotions tells the songs through melodies in a way we’ve never heard from her before.
The mix of instrumental styles give off a vibe of different eras – the opening of ‘Third Eye’ sounds like the beginning of a 50s pop song whilst ‘Various Storms and Saints’ sounds like The Cranberries in the 90s. The stir of attitudes in the harmonies add a truthful feeling that give a sense of what Florence is going through, ‘What Kind of Man’ is a prime example of frustration and it’s all absolute genius. It’s definitely big. It’s definitely beautiful.
Forget Adele’s 21, if there’s ever been a most powerful break up album then this wins, hands down. Sit down, head phones on, full volume and Florence’s voice feels like it’s talking directly to you in an attempt to pierce straight through your soul. Her hurt echoes in ‘St Jude’ where her voice is eerie but bloody gorgeous. Yes, it may be depressing, but aren’t all love songs?
At Florence’s expense the whole world has an incredible break up album to listen to. Her way of handling it is to produce eleven songs to make you feel empowered. Flo’s earlier albums have showcased her unbelievable talent as a singer by demonstrating scales that are, for anybody, a cause for envy. Lungs understandably as a debut album was too varied to show what they were capable of doing, while the repetitive high scale of Ceremonials could be a bit overwhelming.
In this case, put creative song writing alongside an incredible voice and it creates an album of perfect balance. Without a doubt their best yet.