Released: 13th May 2022
Florence Welch reigns it in for nobody. That’s the lesson that runs through her fifth album, ‘Dance Fever’ – an outward explosion of kinetic energy that proves once and for all that, if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it. Not too much, anyway.
It’s very easy to pick at Florence + The Machine’s trademark dynamics. Witchy, earthy, fairytale vibes delivered with a voice that could level a city block, being iconic should never be seen as a bad thing.
Opener ‘King’ sees Welch putting it all on the table, like the forced restraint of pandemic era lockdowns has left her with an excess of raw power to expel at the first possible opportunity. Follow up ‘Free’ runs like a jackhammer, pounding at the walls as it smashes through to open fields. Though working with two ‘name’ producers – the now ubiquitous Jack Antonoff and Glass Animals’ Dave Bayley – there’s no doubt as to who is in control here. Both get the opportunity to add flourish or guide the path, but Welch is the one with her foot on the accelerator.
That’s not to say everything is all the way up to eleven. ‘Choreomania’ builds to its climax, questioning “you said rock and roll is dead, but is that just because it has not been resurrected in your image?” as it ascends into near-religious euphoria. ‘Back In Town’ and ‘Girls Against God’ take a more serene route, but even they yearn for escape – the former based around a post-pandemic trip to New York, the latter promising “if they ever left me out, I’m gonna really let it out”. Even those quieter moments yearn for the bigger ones. Proof that absence can make the heart grow fonder, ‘Dance Fever’ is an album straining at its leash, dreaming of the freedom of the dancefloor. Now it’s here, there’s no holding back.