Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Review: Florence + the Machine - Breath of Life

Florence Welch is no stranger to a collaboration. As well as working with a variety of artists, such as Josh Homme,Dev Hynes and The Horrors, she has also previously written a song for the popular Twilight franchise Soundtrack. ‘Breath of Life’ is her second soundtrack contribution, for upcoming film Snow White and the Huntsman.
The film is billed as a dark, epic fantasy – which coincidentally echoes reviews of Florence’s latest album, Ceremonials(and to some extent, her last soundtrack effort Heavy in your Arms).
The track was recorded with the accompaniment of a 60-piece choir, an experience which Florence relished, “I love choirs and I love choral music. The choir were singing vocal parts which I had written, and when the baritones came in, I nearly wept, it was so emotional.”
The song itself certainly sounds emotional. Florence described her last album as ‘cathartic’ and ‘an out-pour of emotions’, and if Ceremonials was an out-pour, then ‘Breath of Life‘ is a full-scale emotional breakdown.
The character of the Queen Ravenna is said to be the inspiration for the song, with Florence saying “The Queen is just this incredible character; so hungry for life but so dead inside. She’s sort of eternal, but inside there’s nothing. She’s kind of like charcoal or something.” Whilst it’s an unconventional metaphor, charcoal is actually a fairly accurate representation of the song itself. It’s incredibly dark, both lyrically and melodically, but fragile. Florence’s vocals are fraught, straining over the painfully loud and overpowering drums, and it sounds as though she’s struggling to be heard over the choir and orchestra.
If ‘Breath of Life’ is any indication of where Florence could go for her next album, then it’s only going to get more exaggerated and more epic, which definitely isn’t a bad thing.

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