Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Florence + the Machine – What Kind of Man

Reunited after two and a half years and it feels so… ehhh…


Iain Mew: I’ve constantly found Florence’s songs hopelessly overstuffed and flimsy, so going for raw rock offers prospects for improvement. She sounds like she’s trying to fit even more different emphases into her vocals to compensate, though, and the effect is unpleasant. Then it turns out that the plan is still to stuff everything into the song by the end, and I sigh.

Ian Mathers: I had to go back to “Drumming Song” to check, but there it is; both her music and the vocal performances used to be a lot more interesting than this grating quasi-hard rock song.

Alfred Soto: An odd one: the vocal spooks recall Fever Ray, the power chords and horns Be Yourself Tonight-era Eurythmics, not exactly a hip referent. For sure she’s on a “heavy tip.” That Kid Harpoon of Jessie Ware fame contributed is enticing enough.

Tara Hillegeist: Is it too much for me to ask of an artist whose best tricks are to remind me of better artists every time I give effort over to listening to her that, if you’re going to try to mature yourself somewhat, maybe try a little harder to understand the rationale to the rage behind The Knife before biting from them in the intro and just ruining whatever chance your rehash of “Kiss with a Fist”‘s subject matter had of being given a fair shake in the comparison, and maybe not commit lyrical embarrassments like “dangle at a cruel angle”, besides? Then again, “with careful thought” is not an epithet I’d have attached to Florence + the Machine in the first place, so perhaps that is too much. I should settle for having a song that works like a song to listen to, instead of a sketch for one, and call it a day. 

Katherine St Asaph: Florence + the Machine have been plunging, Ophelia-like, into kitsch for some time now — except now the plunge seems to have been diverted hard toward Imagine Dragons. The sudden hard-edged guitar would be thrilling for them if literally anything else was done with it.

Micha Cavaseno: It’s a song that’s ever mutating and ever melodramatic, certainly relentless in never desiring to settle itself into one place. However I just can’t take Florence Welch’s attempts at soul inflections in good faith. She’s never had the voice capable of doing what she thinks, and in that place her ambitions cost her dearly. Doesn’t help that the song seems rather flimsy.

Brad Shoup: The man’s held up to the light like a bauble of indeterminate worth. Really, though, there’s only one real determination, and it’s fun hearing Welch smile through the appraisal. But those thumbed-out chords and plastic fanfare are interminable.

Edward Okulicz: Florence’s first album had this weird mix of ultra-glossy mystical semi-soulful claptrap with harps and shit (that irritatingly worked really well) and some less cluttered, earthier pop with chugging guitars and nice loud drumming (that also irritatingly worked really well). This song sounds like Florence and her band and producer gave one of the earthy songs the Big Important Feelings treatment by mistake but decided to put it out anyway even though it doesn’t work at all. I suspect that this half-song couldn’t really have worked with less or more paint anyway.

Dorian Sinclair: At their best, Florence and her machine manage to walk a strange razor’s edge, producing a sound that somehow contrives to be both ethereal and visceral at one and the same time. There are moments of that paradoxical accomplishment in “What Kind of Man”, but overall it doesn’t quite gel satisfyingly. I respect the risk taken with the production–it’s a significant departure from her previous work–but the guitars end up competing with Welch’s voice rather than supporting it.

Will Adams: When taken all together, Florence’s body of work pummels its listeners, song after song creating the same epic structure with a dreamy intro and then fireworks and choirs and giant drums and and and. But taken in small doses, the formula can really work. This is one of those times: after a moody intro, “What Kind of Man” explodes into 90s sepia-rock that suits Florence’s voice wonderfully. A whole album of it would be tough, but on its own, it shines.

Scott Mildenhall: It’s not Ed Sheeran’s ≥23-70 limit for love, but “twenty years” is still awkwardly arbitrary and specific. The whole song has a pretty vague vastness, canyons and imploring and all the other things that people who liked them the previous two times might like again, but without that benefit it just feels — resounding chorus aside — like grasping in the dark. Which could well be the title of the next single.

Reader average: [8.42] (7 votes)

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2 Responses to “Florence + the Machine – What Kind of Man”

  1. As a Florence + the Machine fan, I have to say that this is pretty awful. What ever happened to the harps? :(

  2. Awwwwwww…
    Yes the lyrics are really clunky, but that final minute is perfection. The guitars and horns in this song are absolutely huge and for me, at least, resistance is futile.
    Maybe that’s just because I’m a sucker for Florence’s style though.