For a minute there we fell off the Florence & The Machine bandwagon. It all just got a bit much for us. Listening to her songs I kind of just wanted to be like "hey Flo, enough with all the yelling," and her I'm-so-karraazzeee persona was a bit too much for me to really buy into 100%. But damn, we've had her debut album Lungs for about six weeks now and I've got to be honest, I'm smitten as a kitten. Sure, a few of the songs are a bit samey and she's guilty of leaning on that booming voice of hers as a crutch at times to try to drum up excitement in a few otherwise unremarkable tunes, but some of these tracks are just killers. The jury's still out on whether anything after lead single "Rabbit Heart" will be able make any waves on the charts or radio, but album cuts like "Drumming", "Cosmic Love" and "My Boy Builds Coffins" are downright brilliant.
Bringing things back to "Rabbit Heart" though... what a track. An early contender for our single of the year, it's just unbelievable. We're predisposed to love anything Paul Epworth touches - and his production is very much what helps to elevate this single to impossible heights - but this is songwriting of the highest caliber, songwriting we didn't know Florence had in her back when we were doubting her ability to do much more than hit that same booming note she comes back to on every chorus. This is her most vulnerable anthem, as she looks the pressures of success dead in the eye and rises to the occasion on one of the most massive choruses of 2009: "this is a gift/it comes with a price/who is the lamb and who is the knife". Fame is the dream, but the music industry will eat you alive... "how quickly the glamour fades", indeed.
Beyond the track itself though, the actual campaign behind it is one of the year's most impressive as well, highlighted by the phenomenal remix package. Switch turns in his best mix in ages featuring a surprising guest verse from Brooklyn's Ninjasonik that somehow ends up working quite well, and Jamie T's Lionheart remix is absolutely massive. But it's the beautiful Leo Zero mix we've been cleared to put on offer for you below, a sprawling 8 minute epic of "La Ritournelle" pianos and majestic production flourishes, that ultimately rises above the rest as the most inspiring of the bunch. It's a slow-burning pop epic that's nowhere near as immediate as the efforts from Switch and Jamie but eventually proves itself to be one of the year's most impressive reworks. "Rabbit Heart" has the misfortune of being on the charts at the same time as anything Michael Jackson has ever touched, but all the more reason to show it some love. So yeah, it's safe to say we're back on the wagon. Lungs is out today and is well worth your hard earned shillings.
MP3: "Rabbit Heart" (Leo Zero Remix) - Florence & The Machine
And finally, we'd be remiss not to mention the unofficial video for "Rabbit Heart" that adorns the top of this post, culled from footage of William Dieterle and Max Reinhardt's 1935 beautiful silver screen adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream. It's one of the more intricate and delicately pieced together stock footage videos we've seen and a vast improvement on its rather mediocre official counterpart. Watch and marvel.
// PMS //