In the album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
, Florence Welch
strikes again with her more majestic-than-usual alternative indie flow. Like her other two records, this album could be the soundtrack to a story involving an unmasked knight saving a prisoner on the at the top of an Irish brick stone castle trotting on a rare albino stallion. Midway through the album, I found myself tickled by the sudden realization of a hint of ABBA in her intent (I don't trust the misanthrope that can't appreciate at least one ABBA track). Welch continually exercises her voice in the harmonious vocal layering that transcends throughout the entirety of the album.
As a cohesive unit, How Big, How Bold, How Beautiful
, may be one of the most dynamic compositions this year. From song to song, you're sent on an operatic journey through the the peaks and troughs of her eccentric idea of just how tangled and webbed a musical arrangement should be. Particularly in songs like "Third Eye" and "Various Storms and Saints," we're taken on a choral excursion of uncharted territory. She's unafraid to exaggerate and adamantly showcase her expression and sass in her melodic gains. You haven't realized the delicacy of a modern day Pachelbellian riff until you've realized the extent to which Florence actually uses her voice as an instrumental piece to add to the composition of every song. For instance, in "Delilah", it almost seems like the singer-song-writer is belting out harmonious chords to replace a would be synth. Or when she arpeggios in a rapacious way, almost to sub in her voice for a classic piano.
It's clear that Florence wanted to offer a more acoustic flair this time around, leaving out any boisterous computerization that may detract from the care and color she put into this album. While Florence's last album Ceremonials
may have appealed to a wider range of audience members, with its reminiscent melodic progressions and catchy hooks, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
takes a turn for the better.
Inventive, eccentric, and sometimes, plain weird, Florence sums up her evolving fearless attitude in "Which Witch." There's a disregard for universality and the all too familiar mainstream alternative indie rock. There are blaring fearless horns, a full choir ready to yell at Ms. Welch's command, and an iambic pentameter that only Florence herself would be able to re-enact. Shes letting it all hang out in her new album, without a conventional care in the world.