Florence Welch is without doubt one particular of the most evocative songwriters of the past decade.
On her previous 4 albums with her band, The Device, Welch has steadily elevated her arty pop-rock, from the primal pounding of “Dog Days are Over” from the 2009 debut album “Lungs” to the deeply personalized revelations nestled in 2018’s “High As Hope” album.
With “Dance Fever,” unveiled Friday, Welch and producers Jack Antonoff and Dave Bayley of Glass Animals have crafted a musical rave designed to enlighten.
Recorded in London as the pandemic raged all around her, the album zigzags from idiosyncratic (“Heaven is Here”) to extensively unfettered pop-rock (“Free”) with some spoken term tossed in for extra eccentricity (“Choreomania,” named for the Renaissance-era phenomenon where groups of persons would dance by themselves to hysteric exhaustion).
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Welch has said that “Dance Fever” – a title that appears like the fashionable-working day companion to The Bee Gees’ “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack – was born out of her longing for togetherness in the course of lockdowns.
Her psychological jumble of anguish relieved by the power of songs is encapsulated in the jittery “Free” as she sings in her throaty voice, “I’m usually managing from something/ I drive it again, but it retains on coming/ And staying clever never bought me incredibly much/ Because it truly is all in my head.” (The movie, with British actor Monthly bill Nighy actively playing the personification of her stress and anxiety, was filmed in Ukraine in November.)
A elegant vocalist, Welch can seemingly effortlessly shift from injecting choral overlays in “Back in Town” to crooning a folksy shuffle (“The Bomb”). Similarly chameleonic is her segue from the disco popper “My Love” – a emphasize among the 14 tracks – to “Restraint,” a 48-next selection of croaks and gasps.
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Her lyrical prose necessitates various listens to extract the nuances, but she’s at her most definitive in “King.” With a locomotive snare and bass drum powering the track, Welch decries labels this sort of as “mother” and “bride” as she miracles why gals normally have to endure for their artwork. Her perseverance? “I am king.”
Welch wraps the album with “Morning Elvis,” a wrenching reflection of her consuming times (she’s been sober given that 2014) when severely hungover, she skipped a flight to Memphis with the band. “The rest room towels ended up great versus my head/ I pressed my forehead to the floor and prayed for a trapdoor/ I have been right here numerous situations just before/ But I’ve hardly ever produced it to Graceland,” she sings as guitars seesaw woozily in the background, generating the seem of disorientation.
It isn’t the most uplifting ending to an album, but so what? It is Welch’s tale to inform and we are her captivated college students.
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