Florence and the Machine, a London-based punkish band
that frequently employs arrangements of harp
and fronted by casual female singer Florence Welch,
debuted with Lungs (Island, 2009).
Kiss with a Fist (the breakthrough single of 2008,
written by Matt Allchin)
introduced her as with
a KT Tunstall-style
deranged shuffle propelled by a stomping beat.
In the album she proved more mature through songs such as
Dog Days Are Over, a
ballad detonated by a sudden vocal shift into a pounding and shouting rhythm'n'blues a` la Aretha Franklin;
or Girl with One Eye (originally written by the Ludes), that is
simultaneously operatic and agonizing blues;
or Drumming Song, a strange hybrid that employs African overtones to craft an Enya-style magical atmosphere
(written by Crispin Hunt and James Ford);
or Blinding, whose surreal atmosphere is woven by tribal drumming a` la U2, distorted undulated organ, tinkling harp, and electronic drones.
The single Rabbit Heart and
I'm Not Calling You a Liar
are pseudo-gospels that mainly showcase her vocals.
Shake It Out was another killer single, off Ceremonials (Universal Republic, 2011),
but the album drifted through the
mournful Only If For a Night, the
magniloquent No Light, No Light and
gospel-y What the Water Gave Me, and
swinging from the Brit-pop of Breaking Down to the
Tamla-soul of Lover to Lover,
without achieving the charged atmosphere of the debut.
The most notable aspect was the way the keyboard instruments were incorporated
in the arrangements
(Rusty Bradshaw's electronic organ,
Paul Epworth's pump organ,
Isabella Summers' synthesizer, Nikolaj Torplarsen's piano).
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