After the presence of Florence + the Machine on several major music festival lineups, social media was abuzz about the follow up to 2011’s glorious Ceremonials. Following iTunes’ accidental leak of a promotional banner about pre-ordering her new record earlier this week, one thing was clear; the release of the album was imminent.
Well, three very important things happened today for fans of the band and casual listeners alike: the lead single “What Kind of a Man” premiered hours ago on BBC, followed by its music video, and the album How Big How Blue How Beautiful was formally announced for release on June 2 via Republic.
As is the case with any new single, the main question is always how has the artist developed in their time away from the public spotlight? Fear not, for “What Kind of a Man” displays a remarkably jagged edge compared to the high gloss of previous singles “Spectrum” and “Shake It Out.”
The lush orchestral sounds of Ceremonials are teased for the first minute of the track before being stripped away by a menacing guitar riff and anthemic chant. Once the vocal track comes back in, the softness in Welch’s vocals is also gone in favor of a gruffer, angrier sound (To let me dangle / at a cruel angle / where my feet don’t touch the floor / sometimes you’re half in and then you’re half out / but you never close the door) that crescendos into a grandiose trumpet flare.
Perhaps this wasn’t the direction fans were expecting after the visual teaser released earlier this week that was symbolic of the old Florence letting herself go, but the turn into more rock based instrumentation is a welcome change. Florence has successfully piqued everyone’s interest to see where she’s going to go next.
Music video for “What Kind of a Man:”
Tracklist for How Big How Blue How Beautiful:
01 Ship to Wreck
02 What Kind of Man
03 How Big How Blue How Beautiful
04 Queen of Peace
05 Various Storms & Saints
07 Long & Lost
09 Third Eye
10 St Jude