Florence + The Machine Provide An Uncomfortable Jolt In “What Kind Of Man”

Florence + The Machine are back — really, really back this time.

After supplying a haunting twin tango teaser clip earlier in the week, the talented Miss Florence Welch has unveiled “What Kind Of Man,” the tense first taste of Florence + The Machine‘s forthcoming third studio album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.

Florence’s music has always been evocative: Ever since their triumphant debut with Lungs in 2009, the troupe has crafted explosive drama in gothic, oft-violent imagery, thunderous drums and almighty howling in songs like “Cosmic Love” and “Kiss With A Fist” — although nothing could possibly predict the next-level intensity of “What Kind Of Man.”

The Vincent Haycock-directed video, which is vaguely a meditation on a relationship in turmoil (maybe?), is colored by flashes of terror and shock: Car crashes, blunt sex scenes (NSFW!), baptisms at sea and even group choreography with uncomfortable rape undertones, orchestrated by “Chandelier” choreographer Ryan Heffington.

The video is a lot to handle to be sure, and there are plenty of interpretations one can draw from the string of seemingly random events. But what is the actual message of “What Kind Of Man”? Is it really about a relationship, or is there something darker afoot? Admittedly, I’m still in the dark.

What it does do, quite successfully, is elicit a strong reaction: It’s confrontational and controversial, and certainly worth a viewing. There isn’t necessarily a “good” or outcome (or really any closure at all), which is perhaps the most unsettling part. Even the song itself feels slightly…demonic.

Could there be more to the story based on the teaser released earlier this week and the way this video comes to a close? That’s possible, too.

It seems we’re in for one hell of a ride with this next LP. Buckle up.

“What Kind Of Man” was released on February 12. (iTunes)

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