In the video of "Hunger", Florence + Machine's first single from the new High As Hope living flower buds and mosses grow on the rocky surface of an old statue: what was once cold and revered, Just amazed at distance, will be a lush promise of renewal. The gradual flower captures Florence Welch's intentions with his latest album: to flourish, to engage, to open up.
Welch's latest record, How big, how blue, how beautiful explored the aftermath of a break-up, and in particular the aching emptiness and longing that followed it. During her career, she has developed a reputation for capturing cavernous, self-destructive feelings that barely exist in her baroque sound. Who can forget the fragile blinking harps "Cosmic love" with the shaky claim in blooming echoes: "You left me in the dark"? Or the galloping chorus of "Dog Days Are Over", an incredibly happy song whose morbid description of happiness involves suffering from an upcoming train? Defined by his hovering song and dark furious energy, Welch seemed to worship a religion from before God was forgiven ̵
High As Hope Preserves Florence's great, torrent melodrama, but it feels less like a storm than the soft light that breaks in afterwards among the sultry reverence for a new day. Many songs begin oadornas, maintained by Welch's great, echo sound and minimal instrumental backing. "No Choir", the final track opens with a sharp a cappella section: Her loneliness drives a power source, a confidence in her ability to express herself. Her previous album was drenched in figurative language, created creations that guarded her from reality, but in High As Hope she clearly states what she means. "I'm sorry to ruin your birthday", sorry in "Grace", a loving homage to his sister. The album celebrates the intimate and everyday: her sadless growth in southern London, her wistful adoration of Patti Smith, the unusual romance of two people who do nothing. Her songs are adorned with humble optimism: "My heart bends and breaks so many, many times" she sings in "100 days". "And is born again with every sunrise."
High As Hope also expresses the desire to capture feelings greater than itself inspired by collective moments she had seen in New York in the summer of 2016. The "Juni" runway reminiscent of "the heaviest days" "when love became a tough act" before jumping into a conversation for togetherness. "Stay close together," she repeated with mothers longing. "Stay Connected". It is a novel turn of an artist whose persona has often focused on ideas of brokenness and insensitive isolation.
But for those who care Florence yesterday, with all her greatness and chiaroscuro, there is still a glimpse of her old self. The video for "Big God", a song about waiting for someone to write back, has a synchronized group of women turning on a damp floor. Making shady dance moves twice as unpleasant as the words "read at 8:42" under a sent text. Veiled dancer levitate as disembodied cherub heads in a Renaissance painting. "You will always be my favorite ghost," Florence suits and lays on the last word.
But for the most part she seems to do with unpleasant theaters and unchanging moods. In "Patricia" the singer meets a feeling that is not heard from her previous album: "It's so wonderful to love."