This week's ALT 104.5 New Music Discovery of the Week is Florence + The Machine "My Love"
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Florence Welch’s 5th album ‘Dance Fever’, has already set itself a high bar. Not just to live up to its million-selling predecessors, or the sellout arena tours and festival headlines -Glastonbury 2015, Coachella, Hyde park, you name it. But also to sum up where she is in her life both as a performer and a woman, but equally, due to the circumstances of its making and all the turmoil of the last two years, it’s as much a snapshot of where we all are right now. What do you do if you’re a natural performer and the stage is taken away? What do you do with your life? And what happens now when it looks like all those lost sensations can come flooding back?Written and produced through the haze of two lockdowns, in London and New York with producers Jack Antonoff and Glass Animals’ Dave Bayley, its also an album that brings back the very best of Florence –the festival headlining Boudicca, wielding anthems like a flaming sword.The first track King is the perfect case in point, a meditation on womanhood, family, femininity and subverting of expectations that makes a personal manifesto in transcending gender-defined roles into a cast-iron, crowd-searing festival-uniting call to arms. “I am no mother, “she declares, “I am no bride -I am king”.With Free, Florence embraces her love of lo-fi leftfield electronics, sounding both eminently self analytical and knowing but at the same time triumphantly celebrating the joys of release, a distaff South London LCD Soundsystem for the post pandemic world.Very few artists who can embrace that raw animalistic rock and roll spirit with the growling restraint of a Nick Cave or Iggy Pop and in the next breath be out on the dancefloor celebrating with the festival-ready anthem My Love -three minutes of perfect release that will be inescapable this summer. Choreomania is the given name for the dance Fever that gifted this album its title, the still inexplicable compulsive collective dancing mania that erupted across Europe in the late middle ages. Here the song celebrates a degree of self knowledge and a manifesto for a new age of feminist rock & roll that’s a natural successor to Hounds Of Love era Kate Bush.With its relationship as apocalypse motif, The Bomb recalls the drama of Florence’s earlier recordings but with a delicacy and lightness of touch light years from her first recordings. Elsewhere, Morning Elvis is a band-on-the road ballad straight from Willie Nelson’s Outlaw period that recalls both the self-destructive whirlwind of life on the road and on the edge, but also the redemptive power of performance –of how touring might be awful, but performing is brilliant.13 years on from her debut Lungs this is a different artist from the whirlwind that won the Brits Best Album award in 2010, someone who has grown up on the road and seen perspectives shift through changes in music and culture but also her own life. Someone who’s creative outlets now comfortably include studying the contemporary dance choreography running throughout her new videos, collecting her poetry into an anthology for Penguin and joining the Rolling Stones on Stage for Wild Horses, without any of these deviations from the pop star norm seeming anything but totally obvious for her.Dance Fever is an album that sees Florence at the peak of her powers, coming into a fully realised self-knowledge, poking sly fun at her own self-created persona, playing with ideas of identity, masculine and feminine, redemptive, celebratory, stepping fully into her place in the iconic pantheon.