313. Florence and the Machine – “Lungs”

What are the odds that two contiguous CDs in my collection from unrelated artists could be so extravagantly baroque (especially given I lack in such preferences)?

This debut album was almost as adored and applauded by the ‘tastemakers’ as the Fleet Foxes’ effort, and I bought in a similarly prospecting mood.

I was pretty impressed from the outset with Florence’s vocal gymnastics, the soaring orchestrations, and, most surprisingly, the rhythms.

There are very obvious Kate Bush comparisons have been made (not just singing, but also the dervish dancing), but there is a refreshing pop sensibility here.

When they nail it, these guys produce thunderous, unignorable moments of aural intensity (without any of the balls-out aggression or jarringness of rock).  They are playing in a pretty rarified space. 

The Dog Days are Over builds wonderfully. Kiss with a Fist takes the Brit-moppet-pop of Lily Allen & Kate Nash, and adds a strong electro-trash edge (and a pretty nasty domestic violence theme).

There are aspects of this album that don’t quite gel for me.  It does feel a little cold and stand-offish at times.  But all in all it’s better than much I’ve bought in the past year, and go to pop:

File under: Pulmonary pleasures

(As an aside, I caught these guys live earlier this year and walked out about halfway through – a combination of my old-man tiredness, an underwhelming performance and a terribly sycophantic and plain annoying crowd… but it hasn’t affected my feelings regarding this album… much).

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