The fourth studio album release for Florence + The Machine, ‘High As Hope’ has been deemed her most personal collection of songs yet.
Addressing her hard partying ways of younger years and the effect it had on her, Florence’s songs come across far more raw than previous releases. But does the music still capture the imagination like it has before?
During production of this album, Florence cycled her way round the neighbourhood to the studio to record. This relaxed approach comes across in the organic sounds that come through each song.
While subject matter is at times deeply personal, it always comes across genuinely. And there’s a certain magic it creates.
Official lead single ‘Hunger’ is a belter of a song. Addressing self-love and societal expectations, the message is quite honest. The power that comes through the vocal delivery ensures it leaves a lasting impression. What I would consider to be the most “commercial” of all the songs here, it’s definitely the one I’d put on repeat.
The most recent single and one with a pretty beautiful visual to accompany it, ‘Big God’ takes me back to her beginnings as an artist and modernises it for 2018. This song for me is a bit of a grower since it is more subtly arranged than we are used to, but after a few listens it gets stuck in your head. This is something that can be said for most of the album.
While the songs are varied and you have the opportunity to hear a more retrospective point of view, the lush and full sonic layers we have all grown to love are mostly on vacation.
Where there is an appearance is on the sombre and heart wrenching ‘The End Of Love’ which addresses the loss of her grandmother. This is the second time she’s written about the death and while ‘Only If For A Night’ felt more hopeful, this is more of a cry of sadness. It’s a stunner of a song and listened to on high quality headphones or speakers reveals the power of the harmonies. More of this style of music should have appeared on the album, but I understand why it didn’t.
I was lucky enough to see Florence & The Machine play live at the Sydney Opera House in 2012 and it was one of the most powerful shows I’ve seen.
Florence’s voice cuts straight to the heart and backed by amazingly arranged strings she’s unstoppable.
This foray into more sparse production still works as she sounds as brilliant as ever but I can’t help long for more of Florence of years prior, albeit as a happier person.
If you are thinking about seeing her tour next summer, I highly recommend you do.
VERDICT : 4/5.
MUST LISTEN : Hunger, The End Of Love, Big God.