Of­fice space

Florence + The Ma­chine con­cen­trate on the day job

Esquire (UK) - - Culture -

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

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