Sunday, November 27, 2011

Florence + the Machine

I'm Bhind the curve again as usual on this 1, Bcos apparently Florence + the Machine's 1st album LUNGS got nominated 4 a Grammy & topped the British charts.
But CEREMONIALS (2011) is the 1 that grabbed me -- 1st thru "What the Water Gave Me," which I heard a coupla wks back on 103.7 FM "The Mountain" (which has weirdly Bcome my fave local radio station, & they don't even play oldies....).
Got the CD a coupla days back, & thru a 1st listening of about 1/2 of it (I'll Xplain), I'd say that Florence & the army that's Bhind her sound (at their best) like what I'd always hoped Clannad woulda turned out 2 B -- heavily-atmospheric British/Celtic-flavored folk-rock that actually ROCKS, with lotsa drama & passion ... & with an occasional mood-changer thrown in so everything doesn't sound the same (no matter how good it is).
When I 1st heard the moody "What the Water Gave Me," I thot it WAS Clannad -- because of the dark atmosphere & the moody female vocals & the chant-like construction. I thot it was very nice, haunting, intense, guaranteed 2 grow on me.
Then a few days later I heard "Shake it Out," & it stopped me in my tracks at work.
It's a wondrous, defiant, powerful, joyous "shake-off-the-demons-of-your-past" number with LOTS of drama & pounding drums & great chanting vocals -- & it makes me laff & cry & clap my hands & shout & screech along. It's amazing. The lyrics R freaking great. I have a new nominee 4 Song Of The Year.
In fact, the reason I'm only 1/2way thru the album is cos I keep going back 2 hear "Shake it Out" again. I played it about 1/2adozen times Sat aft & hoped the radio would play it again Sat nite while I was at work. (They did, but I missed it by a coupla seconds.)
I can report that there R some other good things here, & that musically Florence + the Machine R really something.
"No Light, No Light" has some of the same power & force of the above 2 songs, in a slightly more conventional lovesong-type story. & the lyrics R Xcellent. Hope it gets some airplay.
"Breaking Down" & "Lover to Lover" come across as almost "normal" keyboard-based pop in contrast 2 summa the stuff here. "Only if for a Night" is an OK opener, but they coulda opened with "Shake it Out" instead & knocked people out.... (it's the 2nd track instead).
Florence Welch, who wrote or co-wrote all the songs & does all the lead vocals, has something of an obsession with the idea of drowning -- she admits this in the liner notes -- & that does add a dark undercurrent 2 this stuff. It's the subject of "What the Water Gave Me," & probly others.
& man, can she sing.
I would think any fans of Clannad, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, Fairport Convention, British folk-rock, or just plain great music would enjoy this.
...I'll add 2 this 1nce I get thru the rest of the album. But in terms of current stuff, this is the 1st CD 2 knock me out on 1st listening since Fleet Foxes' 1st. & I couldn't wait 2 talk about it.
I only have 1 complaint, & it's not about the music.
The CD package comes with a booklet that features a dozen photos of Florence lounging around in lingerie at some mansion. Her backing band -- which includes at least 5 members -- doesn't even get mugshots, tho they R mentioned repeatedly in the performing credits, which take a pg & 1/2. There R EZer ways 2 get that information across....
I'd've traded the shots of Florence 4 a lyric sheet. It's not that she's unattractive -- tho I think the photographer tried 2 hard -- it's just that I don't get what the photos have 2 do with the music. & I wonder who wanted them? If I'd created something this good, I wouldn't want it plastered with cheezy high-priced photos of me.... Better yet, Universal/Republic coulda made the booklet shorter & charged a lower price....
Forget the pictures, get the CD or see if NE of your open-minded(?) local radio stations R playing NE of it.
More soon....

No comments: