Florence & the Machine
Florence Welch jumps around so much on her debut album, it’s hard to nail her down. That’s probably the point, as the restless 22-year-old Brit skips from artsy wails to indie-rock scorchers to torch-song come-ons. But there is one consistent throughout: Florence is one tough broad. Whether she’s declaring “A kick in the teeth is good for some/A kiss with a fist is better than none” (on “Kiss With a Fist”) or confessing “I’m in the grip of a hurricane/I’m going to blow myself away” (on “Hurricane Drunk”), Welch takes whatever you can throw at her. But she gives back plenty on Lungs, tearing into the songs with teeth and claws. She occasionally drifts into Kate Bush’s forest of witchy women, elevating her kinda-bluesy voice to an operatic screech while the harp, cello and other smart-rock conventions tag along. Still, you probably won’t want to tangle with her. —Michael Gallucci
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