Florence + The Machine concentrate on the day job
If you’re lucky, the career you choose
can give you experiences and opportunities that your non-working life does not immediately offer. Perhaps you’ll get to go to Pizza Express on the company dime, or you’ll try zorbing on a team away-day. For Florence Welch, the creative force behind Florence + The Machine, the perks of being an indie
pop darling with three best-selling studio albums under her belt included invites to the Oscars and Met Galas,
becoming a muse for Gucci, and performing at a Chanel show while standing in a giant oyster shell. She probably has dough balls on tap.
Which is all very well if it’s extracurricular, but if it starts to crowd out the reason you were invited to the party in the first place, it might be time
to get back to work. Such was the conclusion that Welch drew when she set about creating her fourth album, High as Hope, through inspiration
seeking stints in New York and recording sessions in her native south London. (Don’t think Welch’s day job is any thing like yours, though: of her working routine she said recently, “I’d
just ride my bike to the studio in Peckham every day and bang on the
walls with sticks.”)
Though you might expect a staid, sober record after all that good-times excess, Welch is an incorrigible maximalist, and there are few tracks on High as Hope, no matter how soft the opening, that don’t end in a typically rabble-rousing chorus. But then again, recent single “Sky Full of Song” is a belter; “Patricia”, her ode to Patti Smith, is a windswept epic; “Grace”, dedicated to her sister, is brimming over with love. And if you can write a crowd
stirring, lighters-aloft chorus before you’ve had your cornflakes, and can pair Tracy Chapman’s vulnerable tremolo with Bonnie Tyler’s mega-pipes, then why the hell would you not. Onward, Florence. Onward.
High as Hope (Republic/Virgin EMI)
is out on 29 June