Florence + The Machine are a band with a certain identity, often typecast alongside imagery of nature and the mystique; perhaps it’s something about the resounding croons of Florence herself, and her ability to fill even the most minimalist of soundscapes.
‘High As Hope’ brings Florence cohesively into her newest evolution, with the record’s often sparse atmosphere led by emphatic vocals. Stripped back and unapologetic, Florence Welch’s fourth record as Florence + the Machine carries a sense of nakedness never seen before - it’s self-aware, remorseless, and raw.
There is nothing tentative about this album; oftentimes it feels as though it is a vocalised diary, something never intended to be read by anyone but the scribe, something never intended to be sung with the strength of Welch, something never intended to be wailed in arenas.
On her first three albums, Welch sung of her experiences and passions, but imbued with a somewhat superficial glaze. Never before have the innermost dreams of this woman been smeared across something so palatable, or something so publicly soliloquised. ‘The End Of Love’ and ‘No Choir’ are acutely tender, and, while bringing the album to a close, instil a sense of incompletion or pathos.
‘High As Hope’, at its close, is like a body untouched, without any sign it has ever been seen.
Words: Erin Bashford
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