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.

Buy

and watch this:

~Julian

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a nice switch up. raphael saadiq got his start around the early 90’s in seminal new jack swing group tony! toni! tone! blessing us with hits like ‘it never rains in southern californina’. in the new millenium, raphael (don’t know which ton_ he was.) made a name for himself in the neo-soul movement, working with the likes of d’angelo to create a more sophisticated, mature take on soul and black music. the way i see it is raphael returning to his roots and influences, and a definite old-timey vibe runs throughout all the songs. these songs sound way more motown ’66 than NYC ’08. far from a rehash, raphael’s smooth vocals and upbeat instrumentation are like a friendly guide to old-time soul. throw this on when your honeydip is around.