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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Audio Beaverhausen: Florence + the Machine's Big, Blue, Beautiful

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful is Florence + the Machine's new album. It is a beauty, displaying a new maturity in style, composition and production. A stunning, soulful 11-track compilation, Florence and the band are squarely in the territory of British divas like Adele and the late Amy Winehouse. Blissful.

Big, Blue, Beautiful is anthemic for me right now, as I'm vacationing at my cousins' home in Cape Coral, Florida, where sky meets ocean over and along a sprawling landscape. Big, blue and beautiful indeed. I'm sure I'll forever associate this music with my fun- and love-filled week. Also, there's a '60s prog-rock feel to the new album that's brilliantly tres retro/progresso that all generations here are interested in. Love it.

Mid-tempo, Motownish with occasional Spectoresque flourishes, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, produced by Markus Dravs, is a gem of a pop album. LGBT fans, in particular, will adore Florence Welch in full classy-diva/rock-star mode. It also makes a very dramatic breaking-up album if you need to gift someone with a hint.

"Ship to Wreck" is a heartbreaking opening track. The title song is wonderful and catchy as all get-out. Love "Queen of Peace." Personally ironic, the penultimate track is "St. Jude," my mother's patron saint. She lived not far from here in southern Florida, on the Gulf. Even more ironic, it is followed by the gospel-tinged song "Mother" that closes the album.

The cd version of How Big contains copious production credits, liner notes and pictures.

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