Florence + the Machine – High as Hope (2018)

Following the near-perfect trifecta that introduced audiences to Florence + the Machine’s extraordinary, urgent brand of alternative and pop, it’s impossible not to feel a bit let down by this muted, languid fourth studio album. There are few standout tracks over the course of its forty minutes, with a heightened focus on overall flow and mood instead of individual songs, which makes the album occasionally long-winded despite its relatively short running time. Songs like “South London Forever” (where singer Florence Welch waxes nostalgic about her alcohol-soaked early twenties) and “Hunger,” which tackles the psychological and physiological ravages of loneliness and need, remind the listener what the band is capable of doing, which only heightens its absence across the other tracks.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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