Florence + The Machine, Dance Fever Review
Florence + The Machine is a pop band from South London led by Florence Mary Leontine Welch. The band’s sound straddles moody pop and classic art-rock with confessional, gossip-loving, genre-bending lyrics. Managed by the Camden-based DJ duo the Queens of Noize and backed by a rotating lineup of musicians, Florence + the Machine released their debut single, “Kiss with a Fist,” on the Moshi Moshi label in June 2008. The critically acclaimed debut album Lungs followed in July 2009 and quickly became one of the most popular releases in the U.K., where Florence charted four Top 40 singles in less than 12 months. The songs gathered steam in other parts of the world, particularly in America, where “Dog Days Are Over” peaked at number 21, went platinum, and even earned its own performance on the TV show Glee. Lungs was reissued the following year in a two-disc package entitled Between Two Lungs and included a bonus 12-track disc that featured live versions and remixes. Florence and the Machine returned to the studio with producer Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, Adele) to begin work on their second full-length outing, Ceremonials, which successfully expanded the group’s sound. The following year saw the release of CD and DVD versions of MTV Unplugged, an 11-track set filmed before a small studio audience that featured fan favorites along with a pair of covers, including “Try a Little Tenderness” and the Johnny Cash/June Carter classic “Jackson,” the latter of which featured guest vocals by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme. That same year, Welch announced an upcoming period of inactivity, citing a vocal injury and “a bit of a nervous breakdown” as the root causes. As a result, we did not hear from Florence until the Markus Dravs-produced How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful in 2015. High as Hope followed in 2018, and now Florence and the Machine are releasing Dance Fever.
Dance Fever brings us fourteen new songs with Welch working with producers six-time GRAMMY winner Jack Antonoff (Bleachers) and Dave Bayley (Glass Animals), who most recently conquered the German charts with “Heat Waves” and Florence herself. As well as producers Kid Harpoon and Doveman. The album was inspired by the historical phenomenon of “choreomania,” also known as “dance mania,” in which large crowds of people in the late Middle Ages indulged in dancing to exhaustion or even death. The frontwoman was also inspired by horror movies like The Wicker Man, The Witch, and Midsommar and dark gothic fiction texts; she created a magical, almost ecstatic world together with director Autumn de Wilde. “King” is the album’s opening selection and the standout selection of the bunch. Welch’s singing sounds robust, and the lyrics flow over a percussion pad. The later part of the song shows Welch’s range and power are still intact and ready to roar. Welch’s incongruity about motherhood is a central theme within the lyrics. “I feel like to have a child and to let that amount of love in.… I’ve spent my life trying to run away from these big feelings,” she told Vogue. The album has various instrumentations, from percussion to cellos to big dance beats. “Free” has an upbeat feel that could certainly work on the dance floor, though the song form plateaus and never really goes anywhere. “My Love” is a decisive moment with interesting vocal harmonies and colors. The synths and driving beat serve Welch well here, as do the rich background vocals. Overall, Dance Fever has a handful of keepers, Welch’s voice is beautiful, so there will be a few tracks that will fit your mood for any occasion within the set. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Florence + The Machine: Website |
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