South London Forever
Sky Full Of Song
The End of Love
The fourth studio album from English Indie Pop group Florence+ The Machine is a much more minimalistic effort, stripping out the high production and big synth sounds of old in favour of a more intimate and raw collection of songs. There’s a real vulnerability here with numerous songs tackling serious societal issues like loss, pain and mental health all wrapped up in the big, goosebump-inducing vocals this group have become accustomed for.
The album starts with a few minimalistic piano keys before haunting vocals fill your speakers in the group’s opening number, June. This slow building song bursts into life during the third verse before flowing nicely into one of the album’s best songs, Hunger. This devastating song looks at topics around starving yourself, body shaming and loneliness all whilst cleverly juxtaposed against the upbeat tempo and high-intensity drums and vocals working against the lyrics.
From here, the rest of the album follows a similar approach, with a lot of the tracks’ primary focus on Florence’s chilling vocals and her impressive range which you’d of course expect from a singer of her calibre. The lyrical content is generally decent and far flung; numerous personal issues are revealed in raw and emotionally hard hitting ways throughout this 40 minute album.
There will of course be those that lament Florence + The Machine’s new album for a lack of imagination and creativity. This is one of those albums that’s not designed to push the boundaries of music, nor has it been made to push the group into new, uncharted waters. This is simply a well produced, minimalistic collection of songs designed to put the vocals and lyrics centre stage and in that respect, High as Hope does what it sets out to do. This approach certainly won’t be for everyone and there’s unlikely to be any dance-floor fillers like You Got The Love or Spectrum to be found here but in its place is an emotionally raw and thought provoking album showcasing a great vocal range. High As Hope is unlikely to be the best album released this year but there’s also unlikely to be another that puts the vocals at centre stage quite so effectively as this one.
Verdict - 7.5/10