Album Review: Florence + The Machine - 'Dance Fever'
Updated: May 4
Florence and the Machine’s 5th album, Dance Fever, is a colorful, cinematic masterpiece. From front to back, it simultaneously feels vulnerable and equally strong. Welch doesn’t stray too far from her typical themes of sex/love, death/violence, and, like her other work, this collection of songs is firmly planted in a highly prolific, baroque-pop soundscape. Still, nothing about this album feels recycled, and if anything, the songs feel like a cry for forward motion, a call to move beyond complacency.
It’s with ease that the first song, "King", sneaks into view. A restrained drum beat loosely holds together a steady pairing of bass frequencies to support an effortless, masterful vocal. “I am no mother, I am no bride, I am King,” she repeats and leans into, reminding us to burn every single unnecessary box we place around each other. "Free" follows "King" with immediate and coercive movement - it is so immediately good that I had to remind myself that I intended on listening to track again. Feeling simultaneously minimal and dense, the beat pulls you in with joyful momentum, hands you a helmet, and tells you to buckle up. The scenery is gorgeous, as always - like a forest with lush, dense flora and saturated tones. The interplay of the piano and the acoustic guitar lift the song up - as she yells, “I am free!” at the track's ending, it feels a little more like flying than anything else.
"Choreomania" is cinematic and dramatic - full of imagery that leaves you no choice but to follow Welch's every move. While at times it is quick and spunky, the song also seems to flow in and out of purposefully crafted, brooding, pieces that build imagery one atom at a time. The catchiness of the chorus makes me want to put it on repeat for a good while. In contrast, "Back in Town" slows down to a quiet, vulnerable piece that drops truths like “sometimes it was easier hungover and half-dead." At times this song feels like a conversation - much of the album does. "Girls Against God" is contemplative, but hopeful. Her lyrics, “It’s good to be alive - crying in this cereal at midnight” is as relatable as “I listen to music from 2006 and feel kind of sick” and the song ends with an epic chorus of voices that remind us how connected we are in our experiences. "Dream Girl Evil" might be one of my favorite tracks on the album. At times she sounds downright powerful. "Heaven is Here" is raw, fun, and percussive - with lush harmonies organically sung, reminiscent of something Lucius would craft.
The later part of the album oscillates between soft and driving. A mix of well crafted pop ballads and vulnerable, powerful moments, my mind pulls together strands of Regina Spektor and even Beach House. The album's production is cinematic, saturated, and hazy. Welch wasn't afraid of exploring the dark crevices of life's difficult questions and was neither afraid of leaning into quiet, vulnerable moments nor loud, boisterous entropy.
Rating - 5/5