Album Review: Florence + the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

HBHBHBFlorence + the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

Indie Rock | Indie Pop

85%

There has always been something about Florence + the Machine I found off-putting, but here on their third album everything falls into place. Adopting the idea of “less is more” the songs are more stripped back both musically and lyrically. Instead of using imagery just for the sake of it, here it is used to a good introspective effect in the lyrics. The musical pageantry has mostly gone, with the notable exception of the title track which ends with a fanfare that sounds somewhat out of place; like it would fit better at a medieval tournament. I’m a big believer that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. On previous albums Florence Welch’s voice has certainly been powerful but could be very grating at times. Here however the vocals are toned down a notch and yet are more powerful in the emotion that they deliver. Florence has taken the bare bones of what makes her music great and then built the album from the ground up. My only criticism is the pacing of the album, the lively whirlwind tracks like ‘Ship To Wreck’, ‘What Kind Of Man’ and ‘Delilah’ could have been better spread out to keep the pace from languishing. It was a risky move deconstructing their signature sound but I undoubtedly think it paid off. It’s not a perfect album but it’s the best album of Florence’s career thus far.

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