Florence + the Machine – Lungs (2009)


It’s not too often that I get musical recommendations from my mom. In fact, it’s pretty close to never- I’m pretty sure this is the only time it’s happened. Regardless, Lungs basically hits all the right buttons for me- badass female belting, vaguely psychedelic soulful indie rock wrapped around a spine of really solid percussion work (including tribal drums, which are basically my favorite thing ever). Flo does a decent amount of genre-hopping on this album, going from the harp and drum rockout of opener ‘Dog Days are Over’ to some almost White Stripes-y stripped down fuzz rock and then to straight up blues. The album has a very definite sound, however, and that’s due to the real star of the record, the Lungs of the title (like the organs, not a similarly titled track). Florence Welch basically sings the living shit out of every single song here- on songs like ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)’, the melody seems to almost take a backseat to her just going nuts and wailing: the melismas go in whatever direction she feels like, who cares how many syllables are supposed to be in the line?
I read in an interview somewhere that I now cannot find that Welch is a percussionist as well as a singer, and that her style is informed by taking the same approach to both instruments: “banging on things”. Even on the songs I don’t like as much as the others, her gale-force diaphragm is enough to elevate the music to intimidating, powerful and fucking awesome all at once. Her voice really ties the entire record together, the inspiringly maniacal yell-singing melting into floating falsetto and then smashing back in all over again is at once the perfect continuity between songs and the music’s most versatile characteristic.


and watch this:


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