It starts when you’re around.

By Adem | August, 18, 2009 | 0 comments

I’m taking a (very small) break from the website. I’ll be back on Monday, I just need some time away, but I promise it’s not going to be like the month-upon-month break of last time.

I’m going to leave you with my review of the Florence + The Machine album, Lungs. I started the final draft of this review yesterday but, after life reared itself smack-bang in the middle of penning it, I decided to scrap it.

This truly majestic record deserves a lot more than that though. Reality bites; if it weren’t for the trials and tribulations of reality, Lungs would not exist. And I am definitely a better person with its existence. For anyone who is in love, for anyone who has felt love before, or to anyone who knows what it feels like to have your heart broken, this review has been written for you, once again; with my heart on my sleeve.

FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
Lungs
(ISLAND/UMA)
A+

Love, loss, fury, death. Welcome to Lungs, where matters of the heart take the wheel.

This phenomenal debut does more than just meet the hype. It excels from start to finish as a mindblowing love story. Florence Welch is not some Kate Bush carbon copy. Florence and her machine are the very real deal; this woman has been to hell and back and is going to tell the world.

I identify really well with that kind of person.

This record has the ability to break your heart on one track, then ultimately repair it again by the next. Lungs is not too dissimilar to being in love; there are moments of pure joy, absolute depression, dark sadness and wonderment. And that’s what makes it such a precious record. It is life. It’s passionate, fiery and, above all else, incredibly honest.

The beating of drums play a big part on Lungs; between two lungs, there is a heart, and it beats harder than anything you could imagine. There is a consistent heartbeat flowing through the album which, with every listen, I find my heart beating along to, in unison. Which is perhaps why Drumming Song, the current single, is my absolute favourite on the record.  The song may have been written about incidents involving Welch’s ex-boyfriend, but it’s all up for interpretation. Listen to the lyrics. You can’t tell me that this drumming noise is something other than her heart beating, beating hard and fast. Whether it be a broken love, unrequited love, or a love on hold, the lyrics resonate with me more than any other I’ve heard this year.  She sings There’s a drumming noise inside my head that starts when you’re around, I swear that you could hear it, it makes such an almighty sound/As I move my feet towards your body, I can hear this beat, it fills my head up and gets louder… I guess everyone can associate with that feeling. It fills me up with hope but at the same time rips my heart in two. It’s a fine line between pleasure and pain, and that’s what is so magnificent about this album and its lyrics.

One particular lyric on Blinding, my second favourite on the record, sticks out quite fiercely. No more dreaming of a girl so in love with the wrong world. I’m not exactly sure I need to follow that up with anything, the line speaks for itself.

Between Two Lungs, possibly the most stunning song written about a kiss, is about as gorgeous (without tragedy) as it gets on Lungs, the gregorian chants of Cosmic Love are haunting and somewhat soul paralyzing, and the drama of iTunes bonus track Swimming chills me to the core. Howl is incredible but somehow manages to turn itself into an even better song by the 2-minute-onward mark, and current Aussie single Raise It Up (Rabbit Heart) comes complete with an explosive chorus, where Welch sings of sacrifice; This is a gift, it comes with a price. Who is the lamb and who is the knife?

There are moments of complete anger and violent behaviour on here which, when you think about it, is exactly the kind of thing you want on an honest record about a love coming to an end. Opener Dog Days Are Over, although highlighting what appears to be a serious domestic violence issue, is the kind of song that celebrates freedom; the dog days are over, it’s time to rejoice – hell is no more. Girl With One Eye sees Florence, er, cut out a girls eye for daring to touch her man, whilst Kiss With A Fist is the kind of thing Courtney Love would be keen on (remember He Hit Me, And It Felt Like A Kiss?). Hurricane Drunk details the kind of things that perhaps are going on in my head at the moment; I’m going out, I’m gonna drink myself to death. And in the crowd I see you with someone else. I brace myself, because I know it’s going to hurt. But I like to think at least things can’t get any worse. I hope so Florence. I really hope so.

Florence Welch doesn’t do love in halves. When Welch falls, she falls hard. It’s evident throughout a lot of songs on this incredible record. I guess that’s why I’ve identified with Lungs and Florence as an artist so much. Finally, someone understands my heavy heart.

As someone who wears his heart on his sleeve too easily and continues to experience heartbreak after heartbreak, I guess Lungs works on so many levels for me because Welch is singing what, a lot of the time, I am feeling. Much like Erik Hassle‘s debut (read my review of that here), this is a magnificently precious record; tormentingly beautiful, stunningly traumatic. And after all of the heartbreak Florence went through, it’s nice to hear her and the man who inspired most of these songs are actually now back together.

It’s things like that which make me hold on to that tiny glimmer of hope that, maybe, just maybe, someday love will prevail all and find its way into my life too.

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