|Florence + The Machine — High As Hope (June 29, 2018)|
Florence + The Machine — High As Hope (June 29, 2018) ■♠■■♠■ British singer~songwriter who balances confessional lyrics with earnest delivery and lush musicality. Florence zůstává věrná své paletě strun, klavíru, basů, bubnů — a ano, také je zde i nějaká harfa, připomínající album Ceremonials z roku 2011 — ale pořád existuje pocit svobody a experimentování, stejně jako opravdová láska k tvoření skladby, hudby. “High As Hope” je vítaná kapitola v proudu času. Welch píše reflexivně, ale s pevným zakořeněním v přítomnosti; zpívá s jasnou myslí o největších otázkách v životě, jak ona a její fanoušci nadále zůstali stát rameno vedle ramena, na stejné lodi. Jak v hlasitých, tak tichých okamžicích.
Birth name: Florence Leontine Mary Welch
Born: 28 August 1986, Camberwell, London, England
Genres: Indie rock indie pop baroque pop chamber pop art rock art pop neo soul
Location: London, UK
Album release: June 29, 2018
Record Label: Republic / Virgin EMI
01 June 3:42
02 Hunger 3:35
03 South London Forever 4:23
04 Big God 4:02
05 Sky Full of Song 3:46
06 Grace 4:49
07 Patricia 3:37
08 100 Years 4:58
09 The End of Love 4:41
10 No Choir 2:29
CATHERINE ZHANG, June 29, 201812:14 AM ET
■♠■ In the video for “Hunger,” Florence + The Machine’s first single from the new High As Hope, vibrant flower buds and moss bloom atop the stony surface of an old statue: What was once cold and revered, only marveled at from a distance, becomes a lush promise of renewal. That gradual flowering captures Florence Welch’s intentions with her newest album: to flourish, to engage, to open up.
■♠■ Welch’s last record, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, explored the aftermath of a breakup, and in particular the aching emptiness and longing that accompanied it. Over the course of her career, she’s developed a reputation for capturing cavernous, self~destructive emotions barely contained within her baroque sound. Who can forget the fragile, twinkling harps of “Cosmic Love,” with the haunting allegation amidst its booming echoes: “You left me in the dark”? Or the galloping chorus of “Dog Days Are Over,” an ostensibly cheerful song whose morbid description of happiness involves getting hit by an oncoming train? Defined by her soaring vocals and dark, furious energy, Welch seemed to worship a religion from before God was forgiving — her music thunderous and heavy, forever chased by demons and ghouls.
■♠■ High As Hope preserves Florence’s big, torrential melodrama, but it feels less like a storm than the soft light breaking in afterward amid the sober awe of a new day. Many songs begin unadorned, sustained by Welch’s grand, echoing voice and minimal instrumental backing. “No Choir,” the closing track, opens with a stark a cappella section: Her solitude proffers a source of power, a confidence in her ability to express herself on her own. Her previous albums were drenched in figurative language, elaborate creations that guarded her from reality, but in High As Hope she says plainly what she means. “I’m sorry I ruined your birthday,” she apologizes in “Grace,” a loving tribute to her sister. The album celebrates the intimate and mundane: her carefree upbringing in South London, her wistful adoration of Patti Smith, the unspectacular romance of two people doing nothing. Her songs are imbued with a tender optimism: “My heart bends and breaks so many, many times,” she sings in “100 Days.” “And is born again with each sunrise.”
■♠■ High As Hope also expresses the desire to capture sentiments larger than herself, inspired by collective moments she’d witnessed in New York during the summer of 2016. The opening track, “June,” recalls “those heaviest days” “when love became an act of defiance,” before leaping into a call for togetherness. “Hold on to each other,” she repeats with almost maternal longing. “Hold on to each other.” It’s a novel turn for an artist whose persona has often centered on ideas of brokenness and irreconcilable isolation.
■♠■ But for those who cherish the Florence of yesteryear, with all its grandeur and chiaroscuro, there’s still a glimmer of her old self. The video for “Big God,” a song about waiting for someone to text back, features a synchronized group of women writhing on a soaked floor, performing eerie dance moves twice as discomfiting as the words “read at 8:42 pm” below a sent text. Veiled dancers levitate like disembodied cherub heads in a Renaissance painting. “You’ll always be my favorite ghost,” Florence moans, lingering on the last word.
■♠■ But for the most part, she seems done with ominous theatrics and inconsolable moods. In “Patricia,” the singer strikes a sentiment unheard~of on her previous albums: “It’s such a wonderful thing to love.” ■♠■ https://www.npr.org/
SOSEFINA FUAMOLI. JUNE 29, 2018 Review Score: 8.4 out of 10.
■♠■ There’s something about Florence + The Machine‘s new album, High As Hope, that can leave a listener full of confidence, ready to burst. This feeling isn’t exactly new, when looking at a back catalogue that includes the likes of “Shake It Out” and “Dog Days Are Over”, but as you take the journey with Florence Welch from “June” through to “No Choir”, there’s a refreshed majesty with how the vocalist and songwriter has approached her craft.
■♠■ Indeed, High As Hope may be the most open she has been on record; “Hunger” details a battle with an eating disorder, while “June” establishes the tone early. “The show was ending and I had started to crack, woke up in Chicago and the sky turned black,” she sings. “You’re so high, so high, you have to be an angel; I’m so high, I’m so high, I can see an angel.”
■♠■ High As Hope is Florence at her most intimate on record, embracing the darkness with the light that was waiting to welcome her, as she navigated some pretty heavy emotional personal territory as Lungs propelled her into the arms of worldwide fame. As “Hunger” ramps up in energy though, Florence comes to life within this album anthem; second chances wait for everyone and they’re ready to be grabbed when we are.
■♠■ “I thought I was flying, but maybe I’m dying tonight,” she wonders on “Sky Full of Song”. What would be a grim lyric on its own, gets the full Florence treatment, with soaring harmonies driven by gorgeous bass and string sections. The listener doesn’t get a chance to be down while listening to the contemplative moments, our songwriter heroine won’t allow it.
■♠■ Great contrasts shine throughout; “Big God” is stomper, while “Grace” is textbook Florence Welch, full of soul, accompanied by a piano and a vocal that owns every bit of space it occupies.
■♠■ The melodramatic energy that drenched previous Florence + The Machine releases (particularly How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful) has prominence, instead, Florence uses that weapon of a voice as a battle cry for openness, honesty and the newfound optimism that can accompany becoming comfortable with getting older and wiser, for the majority of the album. A less is more approach was key with High As Hope and the result is incredibly rewarding. ■♠■ http://music.theaureview.com/
|Florence + The Machine — High As Hope (June 29, 2018)|