Finally, after almost a four year hiatus – Florence and the Machine are back, and boy am I glad. Zane Lowe premiered the groups new track – ‘What Kind of Man’ on Radio 1 last night, and unveiled the name and release date of the long awaited album – ‘How Big How Blue How Beautiful,’ which will be released in the UK on June 1, 2015.
‘What Kind of Man’ is everything we love about Florence and the Machine, and more. The haunting vocal from Florence Welch claims the identity of the track almost immediately, though it is clear that the group have opted for a more powerful classic rock sound, with searing guitar riffs to complement Welch’s commanding yet chilling vocal.
Welch has never been afraid to bite, but this track is fiercer than anything we’ve seen before from the band. The track, and rest of the album has been produced with Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons) which could have influenced the slightly grittier sound.
There’s definitely a steady progression from ‘Lungs’, and Florence and the Machine have matured with their music. I’m one of the few people I know to prefer ‘Ceremonials’ over the debut album, so I’ve got a good feeling that ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ could top them both.
‘How Big How Blue How Beautiful’ serves as the follow-up to 2011’s Ceremonials. It was written over the course of two years in London and Los Angeles and features contributions from Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, Paul Epworth, Kid Harpoon, and John Hill.
“I guess although I’ve always dealt in fantasy and metaphor when I came to writing, that meant the songs this time were dealing much more in reality. Ceremonials was so fixated on death and water, and the idea of escape or transcendence through death, but the new album became about trying to learn how live, and how to love in the world rather than trying to escape from it. Which is frightening because I’m not hiding behind anything but it felt like something I had to do.” – Florence Welch.
The band last performed at a fundraiser in London in June, where Welch said she was working on new music, according to NME. “This is what I do — I’m not hiding in a studio 24 hours a day,” Welch said. “It feels good.”
The new album has come with a string of announcements from the band, who are already scheduled to play Coachella, as well as a number of European festivals this summer including Way Out West in Sweden, Super Bock Super Rock in Portugal, Benicàssim in Spain, Oya in Norway, Flow Festival in Finland, Rock Werchter in Belgium and Hurricane and South Side festivals in Germany.
They are also rumoured to be performing at Glastonbury and are favourites to headline alongside Foo Fighters and AC/DC.