Florence + The Machine
Genre: Indie soul
Florence Welch (and her machine) was ranked the 51st most influential person in the world in the Time100 poll for 2011. Now all respect to the somewhat eccentric little red-head (it’s actually dyed), but that strikes us as a bit of an over-exaggeration.
That’s not to knock Florence + The Machine though. They’re possibly the most refreshing thing that’s happened to music for a good few years, and they’ve done a great job of reminding Americans which country makes the best music. And it’s great that we’ve got women like her, Adele and Emeli Sandé making such brilliant sounds without needing to sell it by sticking their tits and arses in our faces at every opportunity.
Lungs was one of the finest debut albums in the history of… well of debut albums. As soon as the post-punk debut single hit the airwaves, we knew we were onto something, even if it was a bit worrying how the idea that “a kiss with a fist is better than none” seemed to be saying that domestic violence wasn’t such a bad thing. But that was just the start of it. This was no Chrissie Hynde soundalike. There was more to this lady. Dog Days Are Over was like a smack in the teeth for every manufactured piece of lady-pop in the business. This lady’s better than Kate Bush. And then came Rabbit Heart. And then You’ve Got the Love (OK, it was cover, but one of the finest covers in the history of… well of covers). By now, if you hadn’t been convinced enough to get hold of Lung there was something seriously wrong with you. And a mighty number of people had nothing wrong with them at all. 130 consecutive weeks in the UK Top 100 and still counting.
And here in Spain? It peaked at number 93. Something wrong there. But the two gigs last year in Madrid and Barcelona were sell-outs. Guess Spanish FATH fans just downloaded it for free.
It ain’t just Florence. Her machine’s also amazing, with all those harps, ukuleles and dried flowers all over the place. There are very few bands that don’t just sound like they’re churning out the same sound in different formats. This is one of the ones that doesn’t. Each Florence song is so totally different to the last that if you didn’t know it, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a different band entirely. There’s a whole pot pourri of other little giblets chucked into the indie soul broth, and it comes out sizzlingly tasty.
Album two, Ceremonials, was released last year, and it’s every bit as good as the first – one assumes you’ve already heard What the Water Gave Me and Shake it Out. And after going on a three-year tour to promote the first, they started touring for this one last October and already have a schedule that runs through to next December. They’re busier than busy bees busying themselves around a beehive. As far as possible they’re concentrating on festivals, which Florence insists is her favourite format, and it does seem in keeping with her persona – but only one of the Spanish ones seems to have tickled her fancy, and that’s Benicàssim. She’ll like it there, and they’ll like her. Seems like a good deal all round.
Did you know: The You Got the Dirtee Love thing she did with Dizzee Rascal … that was pretty cool, wasn’t it?
1. Only If For A Night
2. What the Water Gave Me
3. Between Two Lungs
4. Cosmic Love
5. Shake It Out
6. Dog Days Are Over
7. Breaking Down
9. Leave My Body
10. All This and Heaven Too
11. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
13. No Light, No Light
Encore: 14. You’ve Got the Love
15. Never Let Me Go