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Florence & the Machine - 'Heavy In Your Arms'

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:15 UK time, Friday, 12 November 2010

Florence and the Machine

It's not often you get to say of a record that it grabs you from the bendy metallic whalesong noises at the beginning. But that's essentially what happened here. Those strange mournful little eeps act like a magical welcome mat to the rest of the song, a little bit sad and a little bit huh?

That's my kinda thing, right there.

And when the song arrives...well let's start by saying that everyone who has had enough of Madame Welch's banshee wail will not find anything here to change their mind. Florence's bullroar is given free rein to call down the heavens once again, and being chronically unable to hold herself back, call down the heavens is what she does.

The question of whether this is thrilling or irritating is really one that I can't answer for you, except to say that she's clearly going to keep doing it, so you might as well get used to it.

(Here's the video. Is it me or are pop stars getting lazier?)

And you have to admit, there's something rather stirring about this rolling behemoth. It speaks to the part of the brain which governs heroic actions, purity of heart, nobility of thought and firmness of spine - the bravial cortex. At the same time, it's an admission of defeat, a guilty song about being a drag on someone else's life, but being powerless to pull yourself together against the forces of doom.

In the context of the soundtrack to Twilight: Eclipse, that last bit becomes very important. There's a lot of stuff about pained responsibility and eternal loyalty and doomed fate in those films, and these are all emotions which Florence can conjure up rather well, because when they hit, they hit like a mighty mallet from Thor's own toolshed. There's no room for self-depreciation, the cheeky grin or putting on a brave face. Things are very serious, even when they're preposterous.

Luckily, she's also got a marching orchestra and choir at her disposal, to dispense crushing swipes of doom and gloom as they traverse the scorched earth, en route to the hidden caverns of Doofus, on a quest to locate the magical septic grail of Darren, before the last ring-sparrow sings her final song at the next full moon, in order to prevent her from dying, of, of, lurgey.

Probably best appreciated alone, on headphones, watching the rain pelt your bedroom window, while wondering what cruel trick fate has in store for you next, is what I am saying.

Three starsDownload: 14th November

BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Bloginity says: "The official video for "Heavy In Your Arms" is every bit as haunting as the track itself."

Pink Is The New Blog says: "There are some artists that just ooze talent and Florence Welch is deffo one of those artists."

The Gizzle Review says: "If this is the direction of the next album, I for one cannot wait. I just miss the harp..."



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