Wow, I have such mixed feelings about Lungs, the debut record of Florence & The Machine, surely the consensus breakout artist of 2009 (and recently announced Mercury Prize nominee). On the strength of a handful of previously released and leaked tracks (including “Dog Days Are Over,” “Kiss With a Fist,” and “Girl With One Eye”), I was ready to declare Lungs the announcement of a major new artist, similar to the feeling I had with last year’s rookie phenom, Lykke Li (who also had a string of magnificent pre-release singles before the release of the top-notch full-length Youth Novels). But with the exception of the majestic “Cosmic Love” (and it’s quite the exception because “Cosmic Love” is one of the best songs of the year), Lungs fails to follow up on the promise of those first-heard tracks. The edge and raw rock talent she showed on “Dog Days” or “Fist” are softened with a more updated Kate Bush sound, layered heavy with harps (seriously, every song has harp on it!) and choral singing. So now I don’t know what to think: is Florence & The Machine my next great love or a mainstream wannabe? B
Florence & The Machine: Cosmic Love
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