Florence + the Machine

Florence + the Machine

Most alternative music listeners know the name Florence and the Machine, the English indie pop band that has brought about hits such as “Dog Days Are Over” and “Kiss With A Fist.” However, you may not have listened to Florence Welch during her acoustic shows, performances that I believe give greater merit to her soulful voice.

Having been compared to other female vocalists like Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, and Björk, Florence has expressed that Grace Slick is her “hero.” The band radiates with a marked style that makes it near impossible to mistake their music for another band. This is most clear with Welch’s voice. 

The singer has the ability to soulfully belt but goes another step forward with her own style of often singing the same note back to back, merely adding emphasis to the first of each word to keep the line interesting. Not only that, but she employs her falsetto quite nicely in songs such as “Dog Days Are Over” when the music slows down and she takes to a higher range.

Lyrically, the music touches on Renaissance themes. “We’re dealing with all of the same things they did: love and death, time and pain, heaven and hell,” says Welch. The band’s second album is actually fueled by the break up between Florence Welch and Stuart Hammond, a literary editor.

With a sense of adventure under your fingers tips, try typing in songs such as these into YouTube and get a sense of the Florence and the Machine you may not have heard on the radio. My favorites include “I’m Not Calling You A Liar,” “Hospital Bed” and “Rabbit Heart,” all which were performed at the 2010 iTunes Festival. The music is just voice, harp and acoustic guitar. So enjoy some peaceful soul that will break unexpectedly with a revelation of the voice, like we all do when realizing what we should say, but may have taken a while to do so.