When we put Florence and the Machine in our ones to watch list last year we complimented her crazed stage presence and bluesy shriek of a vocal, but suggested that she may be just a little too oddball for the mainstream. It seems that she wasn’t. Her debut album Lungs produced by Paul Epworth, James Ford and Steve Mackay managed to achieve both significant critical acclaim and commercial success, only being held off the top of the UK charts by the death of a certain Michael Jackson. Lungs is an album of exuberant dramatic songs delivered by an huge production that took elements of show stopping female singers such as Annie Lennox, Kate Bush and PJ Harvey and added Florences’s own pagan, tribal, mystical and slightly off beat personality to tracks such as Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) and Cosmic Love.
In 2009 Florence Welch has become a proper pop star and this is partly because of the fearless songs that feature on Lungs. From the raw indie punk and clattering crashing rhythms of Kiss With A Fist to the joyous gut punching vocal, handclaps and skipping piano of Between Two Lungs, we are talking massive here. Lungs is a cloudbursting album of harps, choirs and bells for which the word celestial was designed. It’s an exhaustingly extravagent recording that is not afraid to shout from the mountaintops how great it is. Thank you Florence, we’re glad you shouted and that people heard. It’s one of our albums of the year.