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Florence & the Machine-Dance Fever ALBUM REVIEW


Written Before Listen


Wow...It’s been a while since I’ve listened to some Florence and the Machine, but from what I’ve heard, I enjoy their music. Florence & the Machine are a UK outfit and they’ve continued to be an accessible and subliminally groundbreaking indie outfit. Florence Welch has been one of the most powerful frontwomen of recent time and songs like “Dog Days Are Over” have been big hits. With that being said, I'm interested to see what they have nowadays so without further ado, let’s get into it.


Production

A lot of this album is very rich when it comes to production. The first 5 tracks are produced by the producer who was all over 2021…Jack Antonoff and the first three out of those are three of my favorite tracks on the album. “King” is climactic and luxurious, and “Free” has these drum machines and reverbed vocals that are not only classic Antonoff, but super angelic. On “Girls Against God”, we get a very rustic palette under Florence’s vocals and it gives the album some pastoral vibes which are necessary. He also appears on “Cassandra” which is later in the tracklist, and there are a lot of cool things about the track, like the western style guitar on the chorus, and the shrill organ tone on the second verse. The other main producer on this album is Glass Animals frontman Dave Bayley, and although he has some good production choices, especially on “My Love”, he is nowhere near as sonically interesting as Jack Antonoff. What makes Jack Antonoff so interesting is that he is just a student of singer-songwriter music as well as pop-rock. With Florence being really good and familiar with those styles, the combination is like eggs and bacon. It just would make more sense if Antonoff produced more tracks like you have access to him, why not use it? Anyhow, I do like the production on the album, but there does need to be more Antonoff on this thing.


Genre-Bending

I don’t know if I would consider this an alternative record, but it's more toward indie-pop with some alt-rock as well. Songs like “King” and “Dream Girl Evil” are examples of the rock tracks here as they are anthemic, climactic, and grand like most early arena rock songs. “Free” and “Chromeomania” are examples of the indie-laced tracks as they are quaint, low-key, and accessible all on the same wavelength. “Cassandra” and “Daffodil” are anthemic pop-rock cuts that cut to the chase with great instrumental qualities, infectious hooks, and solid production. The interludes on this album “Heaven Is Here” and “Restraint” are pretty experimental but they are also acoustically laced with clanky instrumentation. The main outlier on this thing Is easily “My Love” which is a dance floor banger with a lot of disco influence to it. It’s a trail mix kind of album, they are all mixed well together, but there is no likelihood of getting a handful of the same kind of snack, it’s a good mix.


Vocal Performance


With their big hit “Dog Days Are Over”, the thing that caught everyone was Florence Welch’s vocals. Right from the opening track, they are here again in a good way. They stay strong, powerful, and confident. The production on the first three tracks was one thing, but the vocal performance on them was another. There are unfortunately some points where the vocal performances do get a little underwhelming and I know indie records are no stranger to that sometimes, but this is an album coming from Florence and the Machine, the band is devoted to Florence’s vocal performance. There are surely some tracks in the middle of the album like “Cassandra” and “Morning Elvis”, but it seems like Florence put her best performances right out of the gate and proceeded to half-ass some of them after.


Influences


Florence and the Machine are not a group that purposely takes past aesthetics, but they take from some modern artists who are known to do that at points. Artists like Fiona apple and some of the recent Taylor Swift projects come to mind. Other artists when it comes to people I'm reminded of are people like Arcade Fire, Tori Amos, The National, The Killers, and to an extent, Stevie Nicks. I also have to mention that the song “Back In Town” is extremely Lana Del Rey inspired where it gets derivative. There’s also the track “Prayer Factory” where the instrumentation reminds me of Tom Waits out of anyone. Overall, I think Florence and the Machine do use their influences to the best of their abilities, but I do think they get a little stuck on them at points.


Cons


Well, other than being a little derivative and the production being hit or miss, I think the album itself doesn’t have that standout quality that this album intends to have. I think they have some good songs here and there, but I do think the album portion of it reaches a little bit below their goals. Other than that, Dance Fever might not be that, but it is a versatile and eclectic indie record.


Verdict


So as my first listen to a Florence and The Machine album, I was quite impressed. I think there were some great songs on this album and there’s no denying it. I think Florence has a one-of-a-kind vocal delivery and the instrumentation behind her compliments it. It’s a solid album.


6/10

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