Why Should I Care About Florence’s Machine?

February 8, 2009

Yet again, the so-called ‘cool’ and ‘groundbreaking’ music news outlets are raving about some band or other, this time in the guise of Florence And The Machine. I’ve mentioned this band before in my post about the NME Awards tour but didn’t really pay them much attention, but throughout the past week or so I’ve seen them gaining more and more coverage throughout the music media and I thought I was missing something. So I thought I’d give Florence… a little listen.

The first song I listened to was their first single ‘Kiss With A Fist’. A nice happy song title I know, but it is one you’d expect from some second-rate metal band – not the next big thing in indie. But who knows maybe they’re being unconventional or non-conformist. The song itself is indeed what I’d expected, unoriginal indie noise that has been overpowering radiowaves for the past few years. The vocals were very similar to that of Kate Nash and as were the lyrics, the whole ‘singing about things that happen in my life and make them rhyme’ style of song seems to still be going strong…sadly. The music itself isn’t too bad, it’s fairly simple in its construction and is somewhat reminiscent of early White Stripes fused with The Ting Tings with basically just a guitar and drums. The vocals though do let the song down, at one point it sounded like Florence had something in her mouth which obstructed her speech.

The second song is entitled ‘Hospital Beds’ and was much different to ‘Kiss With A Fist’. The song is acoustically driven, featuring just a guitar and vocals, but again the singing lets the song down. The track begins with Florence singing without accompaniment which to be honest strains the ears and at points becomes completely audible in what she is singing. The song though speeds up near the middle which begins to sound promising but it never really delivers the goods, Florence is still screeching over the music.

The final song I listened to was ‘You Got The Love’ which is much much better than the previous two tracks, so much so I think I actually like it – despite it being a cover. The music was great and well put together, the harp was a very neat little addition to the song. The vocals work well with the whole backing band, it somehow blends into the mix. The lyrics though are still rather weak, there’s a lot of repitition of the chorus throughout the song – bad move. The original song is longer than Florences version though, possibly being the reason for the constant repitition. The song itself though is quite uplifting in its music and style, the kind of song you hear during an appeal for Comic Relief.

Overall I feel that Florence And The Machine have the ability to be a great band, possibly taking 2009 by storm. However there a few poor tracks in their arsenal which hopefully will be scrapped and replaced with happier bouncier songs such as ‘You Got The Love’. Admittedly the lyrics are cheesy but not all music can be serious can it? Saying that though some seriousness has to be paid toward writing the songs, both ‘Hospital Beds’ and ‘Kiss With A Fist’ are dire. Here’s hoping their debut album is fuelled by happiness and fun, not dreary vocals and unoriginality.

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The NME Awards Tour 2009…

January 22, 2009

For the second year running the Shockwaves NME Awards Tour is coming to my local venue, the Engine Shed in Lincoln, and I am in shock over how NME can openly support such an awful lineup for a tour! The bands in question are Friendly Fires, White Lies, Florence And The Machine and headliners Glasvegas.

Last year’s lineup was far better than this abismal effort of ‘cutting edge’ bands, 2008 featured The Cribs, Does It Offend You Yeah and The Ting Tings. I’m not really a fan of The Ting Tings but they’ve had a big impression on music this year, which I’m not sure the 2009 artists will.

Firstly we have Friendly Fires, nothing special about them at all. I have seen them live and wasn’t impressed, I only know I’ve seen them perform live because I was told so the other day – that’s how exciting the show must have been. I gave them a quick listen again to see if I missed something but alas I was right in trying to forget the band, they’re nothing special at all. Also on the bill is Florence And The Machine, you haven’t heard of them either? Good. I have a sneaky suspicion NME/Shockwaves spent all their budget on the headliner act and had to settle on some random opener band for the tour (much like 2008 with Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong). Which begs the question – if you’ve not got enough money, why do you still run the tour? At least change headliner bands! Which is my main grievance…

White Lies are supposedly going to be the next big thing in music, and to be fair I hope they are. I’ve heard good things about them and apparently their debut album is currently #1 in the mid-week charts, so why are White Lies going through this regime of pointless exposure? Obviously the people buying White Lies’ album are the people who read NME anyway, so why go on tour with two undiscovered and one overrated band? Yes, overrated. That’s how I’m describing Glasvegas and I feel it is a very valid point. The band have been going since 2003 and have just made it onto the ‘cool list’ in NME late last year. They have thousands of fans all over Britain and I can’t for the life of me understand why! They’re just boring and bland, nothing new to bring to the table but it sells records…and gig tickets. This is the only reason I believe Glasvegas are headlining the tour – they will sell tickets. Not because they’re talented,  because they’re popular. Something which I hope is altered next year.

Finally, whilst reading various ‘bands of 2008’ posts around the web it seemed NME along with many other people agreed MGMT were the best band of last year…so why not book them? If MGMT were headlining the tour I’d gladly pay my £15.26 to see it, but instead I’m doing my hardest to avoid the pitiful Glasvegas.