Thursday, October 23, 2008

Florence and the Machine

One of the highlights of this year's Electric Picnic was witnessing a breathtaking performance from 22-year-old Londoner Florence Welch in a tent which couldn't have been holding more than 30 people at the time (it was early, very early). While I knew she was very much on the fringes in terms of mainstream exposure, it shocked me to learn that, goddamn, this woman doesn't even have a Wikipedia page! What kind of world do we live in?

Possessed of a sensational voice that seems to summon up all the stormiest extremes of human emotion, her songs are frequently unsettling, bluesy journeys into those murky areas of the human psyche that we like to keep a lid on: the eerie 'Bird Song' is about killing a bird who sees you doing something wrong, only to find that when you open your mouth, birdsong exposes your secret; while 'Girl With 1 Eye' (a cover) refers to cutting out a girl's eye ('I took it home and watched it wither and die...'). Probably her most famous song, 'Kiss With A Fist', caused such a stir with its lyrics ('You smashed a plate over my head / Then I set fire to our bed') that Florence was prompted to state the following:

'It is about two people pushing each other to phsycological extremes because they love each other.The only way to express these extreme emotions is with extreme imagery, all of which is fantasism and nothing in the song is based on reality.
Leona Lewis's bleeding love isn't actually about her bleeding. This isnt really about punching someone in the face.'

Mmm, that pesky PC brigade!

She's also gaining quite a reputation for being a terrific interpreter of other artists' work, with her haunting version of Cold War Kids' 'Hospital Beds' being the most notable example (she's also covered Springsteen's 'I'm Goin' Down' and Beirut's 'Postcards From Italy'). This girl is heading for big things. She's playing the Tripod in Dublin on November 14 and it's highly recommended you see her live: aside from her powerhouse voice, she's eccentric as a bat and has incredible stage presence.

here's the vid for the song that's NOT about domestic violence:

and her myspace:

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