The music world is being shaken, stirred and rattled with a pulsing new energy in the form of British alternative rocker Florence and the Machine. Florence Welch is the name behind this new force and she has been seen of late everywhere from Saturday Night Live and The Late Show with David Letterman to Dancing With the Stars and the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. And there's no reason to expect to be seeing any less of her in the future.
Florence has gone big time with over-the-top performances in videos, on television and in concert that enable her to show the talents of a skilled songwriter in a way that is usually reserved for burgeoning pop stars. Although showy, with a feeling of a stage production, her songs have a depth of content, both auditory and visually, that invite emotion. Her words have feeling as emoted through her voice as well as the lyrics.
Her debut album, Lungs, was released in July of 2009 and has had a number of singles released. "Kiss With a Fist," is a short, lively in-your-face sort of tune with a thumping beat and quick, playful writings that gets your body moving. The song forces you pay attention to what you are hearing and think about the meaning, and that is a goal any good lyricist hopes to achieve.
"Dog Days Are Over" is the second single from the CD and is resonating and haunting. It is a song that will make you take notice and will remain with you. The variations in tempo and strings backing the tune keep you listening and make certain your mind does not get bored with the arrangement.
Florence has the extraordinary ability to create her own rhythms with her voice and with the artistry of the arrangement of "Dog Days Are Over" she makes certain her voice is the focal point and never overtaken by her band. The music is the background and not something in which she hides behind, which by today's standards is remarkable and sometimes shocking to the ear after listening to a cycle of top 40 hit makers that come from the land of canned.
"Cosmic Love" is another song that grabs your attention and does not let go. There is intensity about this work that invigorates and emits a light from within. Pay attention to the backbeat – it subconsciously gets into your being.
Florence and her band have been busy working on a new album and if it is anything like the debut, she can expect to be adding to her legions of fans. This is a rare artist that is able to produce songs that say something while embracing the commercial side that opens up vast venues for someone classed as "alternative" or "indie." Was David Bowie the first to do this? Now that is some comparison. The scary thing is that she is really just starting.