Florence + the Machine, “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” (2015): One Track Mind

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Indeed, only with the additional caveat of: How enigmatic. Even with the release of this advance song and clip, we still know precious little about what Florence + the Machine are up to with the long-awaited follow up to 2011’s Ceremonials. Except, perhaps, that Florence Welch has learned to love herself almost as much as we do.

Sun-dappled dopplegangers press against one another in an empty wilderness amphitheater, creating an atmosphere of tortured loss, of sexual jubilance, of winsome melancholy — just like the song, called “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.” Dark cellos saw against a soaring, almost anthemic brass-led fanfare, before Florence Welch separates and then vanishes.

It seems as if a lot has happened, but also not much. Is this simply the album intro? A taste of the more free-form direction Florence + the Machine might go? Florence Welch, and directors Tabitha Denholm (Queenz of Noize) and Vincent Haycock aren’t saying.

For those of us unlucky enough to have lost our invite to Florence + the Machine’s private listening party in London the day before this video arrived, there’s only the lasting image of her disappearing into the enveloping forest — one as dark, sensuous and (damn it!) mysterious as everything that comes next.

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