Release Date: Oct 20, 2009
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Alternative
It’s official; we’re heading for the end times. Look at the signs: the economy is shattered, Michael Jackson is dead, Blur is back together, and, somehow, Lungs is brilliant. Because, really, it shouldn’t be. After all, we’ve seen the cycle before. A band comes along with a couple brilliant ….
The debut from Britain’s much-fussed-over Florence + the Machine finally hits the States, and Lungs proves they’re worth the adoration. Singer Florence Welch’s immaculately constructed indie pop recalls Regina Spektor, but without the studied artiness: Welch is more concerned with raw emotional release. On standouts like ”Drumming Song” and a soul-shaking version of Candi Staton’s ”You’ve Got the Love,” she achieves that rare melding of spiritual fervor, rock kick, and creative quirk — as if Kate Bush had produced an Annie Lennox album of gospel covers.
As you will know if you’ve seen the popular documentary Four Weddings And A Funeral, there comes a point in every wedding that could conceivably be described as ‘audience interaction’. This is the part where the person in charge turns to the guests and asks if they know of any reason why the wedding shouldn’t continue. Often - and this is in direct contrast with most of the major titles of the wedding movie genre - nobody will have anything to say.
For a while, former Camberwell Art School student Florence Welch tried to be the singer the record companies wanted her to be: namely, a more rocky graduate from the Lily Allen school of wayward girls. Then one day she began banging on the walls of her mate's home studio, instead of playing the drums, picked out a melody on the piano (which she can't play), and wrote Between Two Lungs, a weird and rather wonderful song about a kiss. If you like Björk or Kate Bush, you'll love it.
The Brits' Critics Choice for 2009, Florence Welch and pals' debut arrives with so much baggage it's a wonder they could lift it out of the studio. But freed from her irritating live persona, moments here justify the hype. Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) has so many chants and tinkling harps it's surprising they found room for the huge, impassioned chorus.
Precocious Brit Florence Welch fired a bullet into the head of the U.K. music scene in 2008 with the single "Kiss with a Fist," a punk-infused, perfectly juvenile summer anthem that had critics wiping the names Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, and Kate Nash from their vocabularies and replacing them with Florence + the Machine. While the comparisons were apt at the time, "Kiss with a Fist" turned out to be a red herring in the wake of the release of Lungs, one of the most musically mature and emotionally mesmerizing albums of 2009.
More than any of this year's Radio 1-approved UK pop ingenues-- including the likes of electro-bots Little Boots and La Roux-- Florence Welch marks a clear break from the contentious-yet-fruitful Lily vs. Amy era. And that's not only because this self-professed "real geek" is a redhead who'll take harps over horns. Whereas Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse worked their way through the tabloids while breaking down life's troublesome bits into startlingly candid profundity on record, Welch aims for little but the outer reaches on her debut LP, Lungs.
Free music – Lungs.
Lungs, the debut album from London-based Florence and the Machine, will undoubtedly recall an explicit familiarity in most listeners. It’s not so much that they follow in the footsteps of any one band, but more that they ride a general trend in music today. You know, the crescendoing strings and cascading drums, the drama and bombast – without a second thought, one’s immediate notion might be the Arcade Fire.
The powerful set of lungs on this album belong to one Florence Welch and she is both boldly passionate and emotionally vulnerable. She’s all the rage in the U.K. (and undergoing the requisite backlash) and converting U.S. listeners with a packed-to-overflowing SXSW performance and raves in mainstream magazines like People.