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Florence + the Machine: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful [Bonus Tracks]

Track List

>Ship to Wreck
>What Kind of Man
>How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
>Queen of Peace
>Various Storms and Saints
>Long & Lost
>Third Eye
>St. Jude
>Make Up Your Mind
>Which Witch [Demo]
>Third Eye [Demo]
>How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful [Demo]

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "The tension makes for a sexy record that sticks to some familiar themes: a woman wrestling with lovers and emotions, often with biblical allusions, liquid-courage assists and a near-violent intensity."

Entertainment Weekly - "[H]er voice remains a galactic force capable of swallowing entire planets whole."

Billboard - "[S]he hasn't stripped all the ornamentation from her cathedral of sound and become a folky confessional songwriter. But she is resorting less to abstract, lofty imagery and speaking with a more frank immediacy."

NME (Magazine) - "Overflowing with stately songwriting and lyrical craftsmanship, HOW BIG, HOW BLUE, HOW BEAUTIFUL makes for a restrained but joyful return..."

Paste (magazine) - "Welch finds clever ways to enrich her bewitching blend of alt-pop, soul and art-rock-wringing out her usual quota of widescreen melodrama, but without the overwrought theatricality that dragged down much of her previous work."

Album Notes

Recording information: 123 Studios, London, UK; Baltic Place, London, UK; Bedrock Rehearsal, Los Angeles; Church Studios, London, UK; Sarm Studio; The Lightship; The Pool, London, UK; Urchin Studios.

The much-anticipated third studio long-player from Florence Welch and her mechanically inclined companions, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful arrives after a period of recalibration for the spirited English songtress. Arriving three-and-a-half years after 2011's well-received Ceremonials, the 11-track set, the first Florence + the Machine album to be produced by Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Coldplay), eschews some of the bombast and water- and death-fixated metaphors of Lungs and Ceremonials in favor of a more restrained sonic scope and an honest reckoning with the dark follies of your late twenties. This change is most notable on the workmanlike opener "Ship to Wreck," a shimmering, open road-ready folk-rock rumination on the ambiguity/inevitability of post-fame self-destruction that, unlike prior first cuts like "Dog Days Are Over" and "Only If for a Night," feels firmly rooted in the now. The bluesy (and ballsy) "What a Man," the propulsive and purposeful "Delilah," and the gorgeous title track impress the most. Instead of building to a fevered crescendo, as is the Flo-Machine way, the latter cut, a transcendent, slow-burning, chamber pop gem, dissolves into a simple and elegant, yet still goose-bump-inducing round of horns, and is breathtaking without knocking the wind out of you. ~ James Christopher Monger


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