Everything you need to know about the new Florence + the Machine album you can see in the track lengths. Somewhere in between Lungs’ 3.5 min average and Ceremonials’ 5.5 minute average you’ll find How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful weighing in at about 4.5 minute average. And as such, stylistically it sits between the earlier pop styling and later bombastic nature. A far more polished and cohesive album, it moves to a level where the earlier songs feel out of place among her cannon. Not that she ever played Girl with One Eye live. The consistency running through the album is around the strong vocal melodies which tie together the sea-sawing accompaniments, ranging from Mother’s gospel feel through to the irrepressible drive of Queen of Peace. Subtlety need not apply.
This is a serious album heavy with the usual melodrama of a gifted artist. You’ve got to have plenty of self-belief and ability to pull this kind of stuff off. And of course, she can.