Florence + the Machine High as Hope
Rolling Stone: 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Credit the heightened intimacy and experimentation in part to the production....The space around Welch's mighty voice gives every nuance room to be heard."
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- Released: June 29, 2018
- Originally Released: 2018
- Label: Republic
Rolling Stone3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Credit the heightened intimacy and experimentation in part to the production....The space around Welch's mighty voice gives every nuance room to be heard."
NME (Magazine)3 stars out of 5 -- "Patricia' rushes with that same arena-ready indie-pop bluster that sits alongside the likes of 'What Kind Of Man' and 'Dog Days Are Over'..."
Paste (magazine) - "A mix of raw-nerved personal reckoning and outward-looking, life-affirming anthems, Florence and the Machine's follow-up to the chart-topping HOW BIG, HOW BLUE, HOW BEAUTIFUL soars just as high."
Pitchfork (Website) - "Welch is relatively sprightly for someone with her vocal heft, surveying her old drinking grounds with the wry eye of early Laura Marling."
Clash (Magazine) - "Stripped back and unapologetic, Florence Welch's fourth record as Florence + the Machine carries a sense of nakedness never seen before - it's self-aware, remorseless, and raw."
- 3.South London Forever
- 4.Big God
- 5.Sky Full of Song
- 8.100 Years
- 9.The End of Love
- 10.No Choir
For Florence + the Machine's fourth full-length, High as Hope, Florence Welch digs deep, meditating on the highs used to fill the holes in our souls, be it drugs, alcohol, reckless love, or spirituality. Over the course of this concise and cohesive journey, she discovers life is about learning to live in the space between the extremes, embracing the normalcy of that middle ground between passionate highs and empty lows. Gone is the sun-splashed grandeur of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and the anthemic bombast of Lungs and Ceremonials. The Patti Smith ode "Patricia" and the stomping "100 Years" come the closest to past heights, but otherwise, High as Hope sticks close to the heart of a newly sober and reflective Welch. Arranged as a clean linear narrative, the album opens with "June," wherein Welch faces the loneliness of fame and her coping mechanisms. She reveals a teenage eating disorder and drug and alcohol addictions on "Hunger" and returns home to revisit where they all started on "South London Forever." On the string- and horn-drenched "Big God" -- featuring Kamasi Washington, among others -- Welch even considers a higher power to fill the void. In the moments where her former vices are not the focal point, emotions swell on the tender apology/ode to her younger sister, "Grace," and the bittersweet "The End of Love," which features Welch's purest vocal performance on High as Hope. On the closing "No Choir," she confesses "it's hard to write about being happy cause the older I get/I find that happiness is an extremely uneventful subject." Yet, by the end of the song, she realizes that, in those "uneventful" moments of stillness and mundanity, happiness can be found in the simplicity. Straightforward and relatably human, High as Hope may not be the rousing version of Welch from previous albums, but as a document of her personal growth, it's an endearing and heartfelt study of truth and self-reflection. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
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