I first came across Florence & the Machine when I stumbled across their cover of Lightspeed Champion's Galaxy of the Lost, and that was it - love at first listen. Now I'm a huge LC fan, but there is something about Florence's cover of the song that rips out it's soft, syrupy folkyness and skewers it into a sharp, self-deprecating clamour of desperation. Plus they miss out the embarrassingly twee, "I feel better, now I've seen you..." introduction that makes my skin crawl for all the wrong reasons. Phew.
A bit of background for you... Florence & the Machine consists of 20 year-old Florence Welch on vocals and currently Dev (of Lightspeed Champion/Test Icicles) on guitar, although as the name "the Machine" suggests, a variety of disposable guitarists are on hand for different gigs. Comparisons between Florence & Amy Winehouse or whichever female singer is the current hot gossip are usually just lazy journalism bullshit, so don't trust the papers. Florence is like a mixture of all of the best bits of theatrical, hauntingly brilliant singers and songwriters. Her voice echoes the raw sorrow of Cat Power on the road to ruin and the strength of Patti Smith, lyrics that retreat into a compellingly dangerous territory (in Girl With One Eye she cuts out a female enemy's eye and heart as revenge for "making me cry") and harsh, dark melodies that stop you in your tracks.
Managed by the Queens of Noize, it won't take long before everyone cottons on to Florence. I just hope that when the demos are turned into an album, the music will stay as stripped down and brutally stark as it is now, and will avoid the over-produced Kate Nash treatment.
Florence & The Machine - Galaxy of the Lost
Lightspeed Champion - Galaxy of the Lost
Florence & The Machine - Girl With One Eye
Florence & The Machine Music
For fans of:
Cat Power, Bat For Lashes, Laura Marling, Kate Bush, Duke Spirit, The Gossip (earlier releases), Lightspeed Champion, The Kills, Patti Smith