Addicted to Love
Dog Days Are Over
Heavy in Your Arms
Kiss With a Fist
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
You’ve Got the Love
Jason Bentley’s Top 10 of 2009 (number: 6)
Anne Litt’s Top 10 Albums of 2009 (number: 8)
Mercury Prize shortlist nominees (number: 2009)
Unless you've been hiding under a rock since the beginning of the year, you'll be aware of Florence and the Machine. Before even releasing an album, the first lady and her revolving band have been championed by BBC Introducing, invited to play Glastonbury and support Blur at Hyde Park, and won the Critic's Choice Award at this year's BRITs. Now they're being tipped for Mercury Prize glory. How can an album possibly live up to the pressure of all that expectation? I don't quite know… but it does by the gallon.
Florence Welch's distinctive voice intertwines beautifully with harps, strings and drums as she sings her inimitable 'soul inspired indie' and 'Tim Burton-style fairytales'. The gothic pop of Lungs has been excellently produced by a crack team - Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, Jack Penate, Maximo Park), James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Klaxons, Last Shadow Puppets) and Steve Mackey (Pulp, M.I.A.).
There's so much brilliant stuff it's difficult to know where to begin. The soaring crescendo of new single Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), the achingly beautiful Howl and a breathtaking cover of The Source classic You Got The Love. Drumming is a fabulous nail-on-the-head song about what it feels like to be in love.
There are touches of Mama Cass on happy clappy debut single Dogs Days Are Over and at the other end of the energy scale, the twinkly loveliness of Hurricane Drunk. The low points are few - perhaps that I'm Not Calling You A Liar falls a bit flat between choruses, and the lyrics to Girl With One Eye are closer to disturbing than kooky. But mostly it's sheer gleeful bliss listening to Lungs.
Florence says music is, ''at best a kind of magic that lifts you up and takes you somewhere else''. With vocals building from breathy almost-nothings to soaring, arching crescendos and the accompanying harps, strings, hopes and dreams, this album takes you somewhere you'll never want to come back from. When news gets out that she writes her best stuff, ''when drunk or hungover'', Florence's transition from unknown to British classic will be complete.