Florence and the Machine
The delightfully nutso Brit singer hits town.
Tue Apr 6 2010
If you frowned and thought, Florence and the who? when you read the name, don’t worry—that’s the same response that Florence & Co. drew from British audiences at this time last year. But within 12 months, the oddball singer (born Florence Leontine Welch) has become a bona fide pop sensation in the U.K.; you’re equally likely to hear her music blaring out of a construction-site radio as you are to hear it playing in some hipster nightspot.
The 23-year-old singer is the latest in a long line of British lady-eccentrics with a penchant for tribal drum-thwacking and whirling-dervish dance moves (see also: Kate Bush, Bat for Lashes). Her debut album, Lungs, aligns delicate, Joanna Newsom--style orchestrations with pounding rhythms, and while Welch’s emotive singing style sounds like honking to some, her anthemic choruses exert the same kind of sing-along pull as a-ha’s “Cry Wolf.”
But it’s live that Welch’s charms are most manifest. “She’s this weird, mystical cartoon character, Florence,” British DJ and tastemaker Huw Stephens muses, noting that the last time he saw her perform at a festival, she climbed up the lighting rigs and sang from the top of the tent. “She wears these amazing dresses,” he adds, “and you half expect her to come onstage with a million bunny rabbits.”
In the U.K., there’s already a clutch of Florence-inspired acts breaking out (Ellie Goulding, Marina and the Diamonds). Go see what the fuss is about—and keep your fingers crossed for bunnies.
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