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Florence and the Machine’s ‘High As Hope’ is as oddly relatable as it is intimately personal

After two hugely successful albums, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful was well-received by critics but felt like it lacked the punch of those big anthemic tracks strewn across the first two records.

Fourth release High As Hope doesn’t quite have a ‘Dog Days Are Over’ equivalent, but it does contain some intricately crafted songs that when put together into one listen make for one of the band’s best albums to date. Their strength has always been in Florence Welch’s incredible voice, and this album ensures it’s at the fore, allowing her vocals to shine more than they ever have in the past.

‘Hunger’ is full of hooks making it the catchiest track of the record. While you might not notice it on the first few listens, the lyrics explore the hollow vices we as humans often utilise to try and find happiness. It’s just one of many relatable themes found on High As Hope.

‘South London Forever’ is an ode to where Welch grew up, but it will probably create pangs of nostalgia in you even if you’ve never set foot in the city. Despite only being in her early 30s, it’s amazing how reflective Welch is on this song. Its rose-tinted view of youth and the freedom and abandon of early adulthood makes for one of the band’s best songwriting efforts to date.

‘Patricia’, ‘Sky Full of Song’ and ballad ‘Grace’ each provide memorable highlights. On High As Hope, Florence and the Machine have managed to create a record that feels as oddly relatable as it is intimately personal ­– a fine, if not extremely tricky balance to master.

8.5/10