Vincent Haycock via Sacks and Co.
Florence Welch belongs to another time, and her existence with us in this century makes her all the more intriguing. She is with us in 2018, no less – a year in which, at our most absurd, we had to tell our teens not to eat Tide Pods, and at our worst, we had to watch a toupee deliver orders that allow separating families at our borders.
It all seems like a bad fever-dream in contrast to the reverie Florence + The Machine invites us to join. The band dropped their fourth album High As Hope Friday morning, and it succeeds in reminding us of the timelessly ethereal Flo and Co. we’ve missed since 2015’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Welch herself evokes sixties flower child, seventies boho, and eighteenth-century English dame-meets-garden nymph, and the music has long rose to meet her nuanced vocals.
High As Hope pushes Florence + The Machine’s narrative further, halting the band’s typical revolving door of A-list producers and turning instead to Emile Haynie (best known for producing with Lana Del Rey) to co-produce the entire album. Kamasi Washington lends his saxophone on darkly reflective “Big God,” and Jamie xx, Sampha, Tobias Jesso Jr., Kelsey Lu, and Thomas Bartlett contribute. The result is a 40-minute aural landscape that begins and ends with Welch’s bare voice.
Florence + The Machine will play Lake Tahoe in August before playing Outside Lands Saturday.