Cazz Blase reviews Florence + the Machine’s latest album and finds Welsh’s ability to follow her own path and confound people’s expectations, while soaking up diverse musical genres, to still be in full force
I am struggling to think of another band or artist today who can divide the public like Florence + the Machine. It’s enough to make you wonder what on earth Florence Welch has done to upset so many people. She is hardly the first visually and musically flamboyant female artist to hit the UK music scene or the first to have an art school background. She probably isn’t the first to be a bit posh either or to have a big voice. Welch comes across in interviews as being rather excitable, but I’d have thought that would be more endearing than the weary rock’n’roll sullenness practiced by many artists.
What’s interesting about Ceremonials is the extent to which it could be seen to quietly undermine the stance of everyone who portrayed Welsh as some kind of wide eyed fairytale princess locked in a tower, with only the complete works of Kate Bush for company, until one day she escaped to be raised by wolves in the forest. It was always a ridiculous stance to take anyway, but it’s especially so now that Welch has subtly shifted sound as well as image and wardrobe. One of Florence + the Machine’s strength’s has always been a knack for soaking up diverse musical genres & artists whilst also transcending them. There might be the odd moment where Welsh sounds vaguely like someone else, but mostly she sounds like herself.