Overall Score: 9.5/10
Witchy Vibes: 10/10
Pros: A stunning album that reminds us of the complexities of life and carries us through a narrative that all can relate to with layered lyricism and ever changing sounds. It’s Florence at her best.
Cons: There are none unless you’re looking for a happy or lighthearted album. You will cry.
Florence and the Machine has long been a staple of British indie music. Armed with flowing red locks, chiffon dresses, and an ethereal air, the London-born singer-songwriter took the 2010’s by storm with iconic songs from Dog Days Are Over to Hunger. After over a decade of music it would be very easy for any musician to falter and create something lesser than before, but Florence Welch has knocked it out of the park once again with her seminal new album Dance Fever.
Inspired by folk, dance, Gothic fiction, and tragic Pre-Raphaelite heroines, Welch takes her listeners on an odyssey of self discovery with this narrative epic of lost identity, mental health, and a refusal to conform to societal standards.
Beginning strong with King Welch perfectly sets the tone and our expectation for the album, confronting her place in society as a childless and unmarried woman before tackling anxiety through fast paced drum beats underlying a dance track in Free. Choreomania then takes you on a narrative journey inspired by the dance fever that plagued Europe in the 14th and 17th century and the nature of egotistical lovers and unrequited love that shines throughout her album in songs like Daffodils, My Love, and The Bomb.
Through songs like Heaven is Here, Dream Girl Evil and Cassandra, the singer harks back to the loss of identity and non-conformity evident in King and the expectations set upon her by men and society as a whole.
This is what makes Florence so great. She manages to create a fascinating and relatable narrative that tells the story of her career and personal struggles that run throughout the album, whilst also making sure each track is unique and interesting.
If you’re looking for a lighthearted, happy album you won’t find it in Dance Fever. The album is a heartbreaking narrative of self destructive tendencies and unrequited love with gorgeous references to mythology (the song Cassandra, for example, is inspired by the Greek prophetess of ancient myth) and pastoral descriptions that give it the classic witch-like feel that has become a staple in Florence’s work. The lyrics are deeply layered and breathtaking whilst the instrumentation varies between synths and harps, leaving you in a bliss-like state one minute and dancing around the living room in the next.
It’s very hard to review an album like this. You could spend hours discussing the brilliance of each song, or spend days describing the complex layering of meaning and interpretation. But you won’t understand just how great Dance Fever is until you put in your earphones and take a deep dive into each of the fourteen tracks.
Uplifting, relatable, and at times emotional (Morning Elvis definitely hasn’t made us cry every time we’ve listened to it) Dance Fever is more than just an encapsulation of everything we have been through over the past two years. This highly anticipated album encapsulates all the best and worst parts of humanity and our complexities. It is an ode to humanity. It is an ode to being alive.
Dance Fever is out now via Polydor Records.
Listen to the album below:
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