Florence + The Machine Begins Next Era with “What the Water Gave Me”

Yes, it’s true: The witchy Miss Florence Welch has returned!

After several months of touring ’round the world and many weeks spent recording with acclaimed British producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Kate Nash) at England’s famed Abbey Road Studios, the fiery-headed chanteuse is back with “What The Water Gave Me,” the whimsical lead single from her as-of-yet untitled sophomore effort, due out on November 7.

As she told Pitchfork in an interview posted today, their work on Lungs–especially “Cosmic Love” (my personal favorite)–inspired Welch to keep collaborating with Epworth: “The way that “Cosmic Love” turned out really made me want to do the whole next record with him. That song was written in like half an hour in a tiny bedroom studio and I always had this idea for a really big sound coming from all that clatter, and he managed to capture that on record in the best way.”

Just as with all great Florence productions, “What The Water Gave Me” weaves together echoed, otherworldly instrumentation and pleasant plucks of harp with Welch’s soulful sound; her voice quivering above crashing drums and noisy guitar licks as she throws her head back to deliver howl after almighty howl by the song’s massive finale. Add in an organ and the sobering chant of a choir and et voila: Florence is taking us to CHURCH!

As one of the most genuinely exciting new artists to have emerged in the past decade–as well as the driving force behind one of my top albums of 2009–it’s reassuring to see (and hear!) that Lady Welch is right on track with her follow-up: It’s spooky. It’s soulful. It’s flawless. Were you expecting anything less?

“What the Water Gave Me” was released on August 23. (iTunes)

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