Plate Crash: Florence + The Machine – Lungs

Florence + The Machine - Lungs

Florence + The Machine are part of the fourth record crash. The debut “Lungs” by the Englishwoman Florence Welch and her changing band was on everyone’s lips in 2009 and made a great impression on critics – as with our Julia. Colleague Marie has not noticed much or nothing at all about the hype and has listened to it without bias.

In 2009 I was 14 years old. Grown up with Queen and ABBA, I turned as a teenager, like many others at that time, but then to Metal and Emo. The heroes of the hour were My Chemical Romance and Bullet For My Valentine. I could not do much with music that contained little electric guitars, the charts were also a difficult topic, Indie seemed incredibly bleak on me. One day I discovered a song on the iPod of a friend who was supposed to change everything: “Rabbit Heart” by Florence + the Machine. A voice so bloodcurly beautiful that inevitably a goose bumps spread over my whole body. An instrument that was far superior to popular pop or rock music. Beautifully used background choirs that partly support Welch, partly oppose. Quickly the gear to the CD store of my choice was done, the associated album was called “Lungs”. It should turn my entire music world upside down.

Florence + The Machine prove that they can play a tremendously impressive repertoire of songs. “A kiss with a Fist is better than none” – such cheeky sentences before a casual indie slacker song are known today by the squad to Courtney Barnett, but even Welch dominated this kind of indie with a big wink. Hearty pieces such as “Cosmic Love” or “Hurricane Drunk” provide the great emotions. Florence + The Machine do not make music for small stages, they want the big one. The cosmos as an allegory for love: “The stars, the moon, they have all blown out, You left me in the dark”, plus strings that bubble quietly, sometimes epic start. Florence + The Machine can also indie party, “Dog Days Are Over” and of course “You’ve Got The Love”, one of the most beautiful love songs ever, would probably even rethink any dandy – or at least sing along. “Girl With One Eye” almost includes garage rock elements. “My Boy Builds Coffins” describes death as a universal end as poetically as only Welch succeeds – her love for poetry and literature is already clearly visible on the debut. And again and again these harps, which are probably the most distant guitar instruments of the electric guitar, still fascinated me.

Welch sings “No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world” in “Blinding”. On this album she shows herself one last time playful, “Lungs” remains the most versatile album of the band to date. Then it’s over with the girl and Welch finally develops into the grand dame of the indie. All albums of the band are works of epic proportions, “Lungs” remains for me due to all the stunning song ideas and varied moments but so far the number 1. And a ray of hope that opened my eyes to a whole new cosmos: the indie

And that’s what Marie says after hearing Lungs for the first time:

Florence + The Machine is one of those band names that I’ve already felt read a thousand times somewhere, but never myself really listened. The band name always scared me off, and I’m sure I’m still not sure if this is a Florence solo project or a band. And I am all the more excited to give the whole thing a chance and to listen to the debut album of 2009, “Lungs”.

The beginning is not that bad. The first song “Dog Days Are Over” is even pretty catchy and with percussions you always get me. It continues with typical indie folk with strings and guitars in the background and front singer Florence Welch sings about love, separation and sadness. The usual. “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” works more with echoes and reverb on her voice. And that makes everything break again for me. The voice of Florence Welsh is in many places really good, especially if she is to be heard alone, but the polyphony and reverberation on the voice ruin it all. And the problem is not only heard in this, but in many songs on the record. It seems overdramatic and overloaded in many places. In general, the album is in many places with choruses or harps in the background too much fluffed, which makes the whole thing quite theatrical. Less would be more. So all this loses something and sounds very uniform. Over and over again, of soft parts with soft voice and only one or two instruments to effervescent arrangements changed and back again. In every single song. That’s not exciting. And that makes it very difficult to listen to the whole album and not to jump to the next song after 20 seconds.

But there is also a bright spot! “Kiss with a Fist” is much more punk and for me (by far the best song on “Lungs”! Also (or just) because he stands out from the rest of the songs and is not so pigheaded. And there are even more surprises: when I arrived at “You’ve Got The Love” I notice that I even know the song! I just have no idea where and I’m unsure whether this speaks for or against the album …

Overall, “Lungs”, even if it seems overloaded in many places and is very repetitive, not so bad and I also have to admit that after listening to it several times, little earwigs have crept in, which will certainly accompany me for a while now.

You can buy the album “Lungs” here. *

And so it sounds:

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Florence + The Machine live 2019:

  • 02.03.2019 Olympiahalle Munich
  • 05.03.2019 Lanxess Arena Cologne
  • 09.03.2019 Barclaycard Arena Hamburg
  • 14.03.2019 Mercedes-Benz Arena Berlin

Rights to the album cover are owned by Island Records.

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