FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE Lungs *** Island 1797940, £12.72
The much vaunted debut album from Florence Welch is not bad, but it's not all that good either. Stylistically it flits about to the point of neurosis, the scratchy guitar on the new wave indie jauntiness of A Kiss With A Fist sitting cheek by jowl with the raw nightclub blues of yowling Girl With One Eye. It is more pleasantly incidental than actively inspirational.
The production – from alternative pop heavyweights Paul Epworth, James Ford and Steve Mackie – provides a meaty sheen and plenty of oomph from workmanlike backing band, The Machine. When the bonus track You've Got The Love kicks in, it all seems to make sense with Welch's voice flecked with real power and emotion. It is a cover of the Source hit from 20 years ago, featuring the stunning disco vocals of Candi Staton. Welch's singing steps up to the mark on that occasion, but her own songwriting comes up short, which at this stage is understandable.
She does have reasonable potential. My Boy Builds Coffins is darkly inventive and Between Two Lungs is an intriguing angle on that telling kiss. But Drumming Song is a slight idea beefed up by clever production, and Hurricane Drunk might be Dido with leather strides on. Florence Welch is an undoubted talent, but it badly needs to be kept in perspective.
Download this: My Boy Builds Coffins, Girl With One Eye