Florence + the Machine’s High as Hope is a dazzling standout.

Florence + the Machine’s fourth project features lead single ‘Hunger’ which starts with the impactful gut punch “At 17, I started to starve myself.” The belting vocals of the chorus add to the emotional stakes and rawness the song portrays with Florence Welch’s performance sounding powerful, all over a swelling piano and lively percussion.

‘Big God’ is another major standout, with an intimidating piano which fills the song with a passionate rage. Vocals that range from coarse and cold to light, airy and innocent. Light on the percussion with odd light drums until halfway through after the slow build of tension, rising instrument by instrument. In the final minute of the track she lets go of her emotions in a haunting voice. “Shower your affection, let it rain on me.” She ends the song with a growling vocal fry which end up being simultaneously terrifying and brilliant.

In ‘Grace,’ the summery piano and intimate instruments in the verses adds to the sincerity of the more emotional moments of the song with reflection of one’s past actions and how negatively they have effected your loved ones. In the chorus, the swelling instruments and choir add to the pleading vocals, repeating the name Grace over and over with phrases like “I don’t say it enough,” and “You are so loved.” In the second verse, the layered vocals and harmonisations while discussing a ruined birthday due to seeing mermaids on a drug trip sound very trippy. The best part of the song comes in the third chorus where Florence’s vocals explode like a ticking timebomb of emotion. She screams the lyrics in anguish “It was such a f***ing mess.” After the storm comes a calm moment with sweet sounding backing vocals “Tell me what I can do, I will make it up to you.”

8/10 – The album is a folky treat and it never disappoints in its emotional heft.

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