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Ok, time to go back nurturing the underground ethos of this site now!

No, wait. Wrong review. But whatever... good is good, no matter how many people share that opinion. So yes, while I was taking my sweet time with the last one (that's why there's no post about it here), I've bought the new album by Florence Welch immediately after release.


FLORENCE + THE MACHINE - Dance Fever (Hardcover Book Deluxe Edition CD) (2022)

It's not a natural given that I like this music: It's often very formulaic with the slow intro and build-up during the first verse, then exploding into uptempo pop with lots of chorus repeats and the lead voice permanently belting and occasionally ooohooohoohooo running out of lyrics... but luckily that isn't always the case. And even more important: when all that stuff which could in theory be quite terrible, happens, it actually doesn't bother me at all, because this artist is just so damn good at it.

There isn't any spectacular new ground broken on "Dance Fever". Folk pop hymns. Check. Singer/songwriter ballads? Check. Heavenly choirs? Check. Seventies disco? Check. Depeche Mode worship? Check. Even the album title is old news considering how obsessed with expressive dance choreography videos Florence Welch has been in the past.
It has all been done before, but the intensity of the singer's performance, the quality of the arrangements and the effortlessness with which the album flows from one thing into another, are just on a really spectacular level.

I won't say that this is her best album. Not only are "Ceremonials" or "How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful" hard to beat; I honestly cannot for the life of me be the judge of that question after this little time. There's no doubt however that "Dance Fever" is further evidence that the vault of possible amazing Florence + The Machine albums is probably endless.

One noticable habit which has already snuck in before, but is really highlighted now, is Florence' use of this deep, almost spoken, creaking early morning voice, which is seldom heard in this way, because it's a) not a "beautiful" sound and b) not too many vocalists are even capable of working with it in such a controlled way. It's an intriguing addition to her palette and not the only proof that she's always working on her voice and pushing it to new limits. Thankfully there's no too blatant and overdone showing off in that regard, but if you're pay attention you'll notice it for sure.

I could say something about most of the fourteen tracks, maybe even find some small fault in one or two songs, which seem a little weaker than the rest, but fuck that - the album as a whole is great and its highlights shine much brighter than any one not so strong bridge or whatever I could find to nitpick about.

The lyrics aren't super long, so you could easily fit them on one or two double pages along with the credits. Or you're strechting them to an almost hundred pages thick artbook like in the Deluxe CD edition I went for. And I dig it, it's a nice item.

The real kicker for me however were the five bonus tracks, four of them being alternate acoustic versions of the album songs "Cassandra", "Free", "Morning Elvis" and "My Love". As we already know since way back through her MTV Unplugged that's of course always a treat.

The final song - also acoustic - is a cover of The Stooges' "Search And Destroy". No points for originality for this choice, I'm afraid. Has the world waited for yet another version of this? Nope. But we haven't heard it from Florence + The Machine before either, so there's no objection from me.

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