Florence Welch begins the song “Hunger” with a rather bleak sentence: “At 17, I started to starve myself.” Her staggering honesty feels at first painful, then reassuring and then, later on in the record, purifying—for both herself and the listener. “Hunger” is the second track on High As Hope, Florence + The Machine’s eagerly awaited new album, out today via Republic Records. The LP is their first since 2015’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. High As Hope is streaming now, and you can listen to it below.
On How Big, Welch, ever the adroit lyricist, let loose a series of fits and fallings apart, only at times engaging with the beauty in her breakup that inspired the record. High As Hope calls upon the past in a different way. Welch digs deep into her teenage psyche, reckoning with the good, the bad and the ugly, and targeting the uncertain adolescent in us all.
High As Hope explores the youthful—and human—need for togetherness. The very first song, “June,” indexes the personal need for collaboration as Welch belts the hook: “Hold on to each other.” Her signature angelic-ness and sweeping pop are still intact on High As Hope, though her voice has only gained moxie since the harpy days of 2009’s Lungs, the band’s first full-length LP.
Welch co-produced the record, and Kamasi Washington, Sampha, Tobias Jesso Jr., Kelsey Lu, Jamie xx and Thomas Barlett are all collaborators. Washington and Jamie xx are featured on the album’s third single, “Big God,” which also has a companion music video choreographed by Akram Khan.
Florence and company are also going on a North American tour, kicking off in August in Montreal. You can find their entire tour calendar here.
Again, you can listen to High As Hope below or via your streaming service of choice here. Welch shared a poem written in honor of the record’s release, which is also included below. If you’re still craving more Florence after the album’s 40 minutes, listen to her acoustic set on BBC Radio 6.