Florence + The Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Florence Welch is showing no signs of slowing down.
After two albums of commercially and critically lauded slightly left-of-centre rock, she’s back with a third which sounds set to outstrip both of those first two efforts in terms of chart success.
This is a lesson in how to make contemporary, commercial but credible rock that’s influenced by the past but not in thrall to it.
Ship to Wreck, the lead single which has been on the A list of both Radios 1 and 2 this past month, opens proceedings and is a fair indicator of what’s to come: Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac given a muscular 21st century makeover.
Although other songs – Queen of Peace, the marvellous Third Eye – are hewn from the same rock – like a bigger, less indie Haim – How Big… is no copycat Mac set.
There are hints of Led Zep on the funky closer Mother, which looks likely to go beyond its near-six minute length on stage this summer, and Anna Calvi on the big metallic blast of What Kind of Man.
Most of all, though, it sounds like nothing as much as itself: a satisfying, mainstream rock record which will surely not stray far from the upper reaches of the charts for some months.
Like this? Try these: Fleetwood Mac, Rumours; Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti; Oasis, Morning Glory
By Andrew Greenhalgh