Album Feature: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful - Florence + the Machine

Monday, February 23, 2015

Florence + the Machine are set to release their much anticipated third LP, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful in June 2015. With help from producer Markus Dravs, Florence + the Machine were able to reach a new platform of musical experimentation. Lead vocalist, Florence Welch used the 11- track LP as a forum to confront her contention of living in a fantasy world. 

Unlike Ceremonials 2011 and Lungs 2009, the new LP steers clear from fixations of escapism and senselessness. Instead, the album comments on the underlying issues present in Welch’s life and focuses on the importance of finding peace within reality. Rooted in their soul/indie rock genre, Florence + the Machine transitioned their way back to musical instruments after venturing out to a baroque pop style in 2011. The powerhouse vocals, combined with the stylistically layered guitar recordings, have allowed the band to attain a harmonious balance between organic and electronic. 

After a ‘downward spiralling’ year off, Welch discovered the power of introspection. The influence of artists such as Neil Young and the Arctic Monkeys also allowed her to find her feet once again. These discoveries sparked a resurgence of her musical undertaking, allowing her to push the boundaries even further. This significant year off exposed a new dimension of transparency and authenticity for Welch, as illustrated through the clout and intricacy of the lyrics. With guidance of Dravs, Welch made the decision to shift away from her trademark water imagery in an attempt to focus on surviving reality rather than escaping it. 

The album trailer for How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful opens with the bare sweeping sky. Encapsulated by the simplicity, we expose ourselves to a state of emotional vulnerability that is soon probed in the next following scenes… 

Two figures meet. 

Grappling for answers, the figures mirror each other’s movement and dance in unison. We soon realise that both these figures are Florence Welch and we are provoked to search for meaning. This sense of curiosity is represented throughout the entirety of the album. 

What Kind of Man was the first track to drop off the album on February 12th.  
Director Vincent Haycock is to be acknowledged for the outstanding music video that skillfully complimented the weighty lyrics of the track. The edgy cinematography enabled Florence + the Machine to visually express their bold new direction. Welch’s lyrics are peppered with metaphorical genius, allowing her to reveal full disclosure as she confronts her personal issues.  Her dark, romantic vocals command your full attention, as she strings you along her bittersweet journey. 

A killer guitar riff soon usurps this shadowy stanza, catapulting the track into a new territory for Florence + the Machine. 

When listened to in solitude How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful can be seen as a cathartic experience that allows the listener to bask in the face of utmost artistry. 
In 2015, you’ll be able to catch Florence + the Machine and their mesmerizing stage presence live at Bonnaroo, Coachella and The Governors Ball. 

 The full track list for How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful includes:

  1. Ship to Wreck
  2. What Kind of Man
  3. How Big How Blue How Beautiful
  4. Queen of Peace
  5. Various Storms and Saints
  6. Delilah
  7. Long and Lost
  8. Caught
  9. Third Eye
  10. St Jude
  11. Mother

Written by Otara Athukorala