Florence Is Back, And It’s Beautiful

More stories from Mattea McDonald

If you don’t know who Florence + the Machine are, you’ve probably been living under a mainstream radio rock for the past few years. Florence Welch and her band have been wowing audiences in Europe and America alike since 2009 when they caught the eye of the mainstream indie crowd, and have had quite a few major singles like, “Kiss With a Fist,” “Dogs Days Are Over,” and “Shake It Out,” just to name a few. They impressed fans with the ethereal, orchestral feeling of their debut album, Lungs and blew them away with their positive, upbeat sophomore album, Ceremonials. Welch has illustrated her ability to create artistic pieces while sticking to her personal style and feeling. The band has definitely gained a large fanbase since their humble UK beginning in 2007.

You could imagine why fans were a little bummed when Welch announced her 12-month hiatus in mid-2012; they wanted or needed– more Florence in their lives, as if what they were given wasn’t enough. No one, however could have expected what was to come from that hiatus.

In June of this year, Florence + the Machine came out with their latest album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, a masterpiece album that brings in orchestral elements of Lungs, while having notes of the positivity from Ceremonials. It’s the love-child of Welch’s previous albums, all wrapped up neatly with a gorgeous bow on top.

But at the same time, this album holds its own. It’s an entire separate entity, while being a fusion of everything Welch has already accomplished.

Welch brings forth an album full of ethereal feeling, while also being blunt and truthful to the listeners. This album is full of life advice, beneath the melodies and orchestral build-ups. It’s a true feminist, coming-of-age-and-finding-yourself album and Welch takes us on a personal journey of self-expression and spirituality.

The album is filled to the brim with not only girl-rock anthems, but softer, quieter ballads. Welch will pump you up and make you want to dance with songs like “Ship to Wreck,” “What Kind of Man,” and “Delilah,” but soothe you with “St. Jude,” “Long & Lost,” and “Caught”. While some of the songs have a more somber tone to them (like “Jude”), others have great, positive messages to them. If you’re looking for a few songs to keep you perked up during the lousy winter months, “Third Eye” and “Delilah” must find their way onto your playlist. They’re sure to do the trick to get you through a harsh Syracuse winter season.

Not only is Welch a badass female leading a band, but she’s also a true artist. She takes the listener on a journey with every album she produces and, while never observing her process, I’m sure she wonders, “How can I be different and innovative and bring the listener something they might not have heard before?” Not only does Welch take us on a musical journey, she also produces songs that are catchy and will leave you humming all day.

Overall, this new album is a great addition to what Florence + the Machine have already accomplished. It’s an album that will instantly become a favorite and a staple in your music collection. If you haven’t already picked it up, head to your local record store or online to iTunes.