Dance Fever follows 2018’s High as Hope. Florence Welch recorded the album in London during the pandemic; she produced it with Jack Antonoff and Glass Animals’ Dave Bayley. The concept of choreomania — a Renaissance-era phenomenon where people danced to the point of exhaustion or death — was a fascination of Welch’s as she made the album. Florence took lyrical inspiration from “the tragic heroines of pre-Raphaelite art, the gothic fiction of Carmen Maria Machado and Julia Armfield, the visceral wave of folk horror film from The Wicker Man and The Witch to Midsommar.”
Following on from recent track ‘Heaven Is Here’ and last month’s ‘King’, Florence Welch’s latest offering 'My Love' was first written as an acoustic “sad little poem” in the singer-songwriter’s kitchen before being transformed into a floor-filling anthem.
Heaven Is Here was written in spite of lockdown one, Florence channeled her frustrations at being creatively chastised into this immediately arresting, 2 minutes 8 seconds of powerful choral chant set to primal drums and vocal percussion.
The Autumn de Wilde directed video shows a cast of dancers led in possessed procession by Florence. Choreographed by Ryan Heffington with chilling precision to bring the music to life, the short burst of bewitching, other-worldly energy - audibly and visually - takes your breath away.
Joy, grief, breath, the body, movement, the soul, power, rage, powerlessness, spirituality and escapism are all at play in this flash of pure brilliance.
Released in February ‘King’ is a meditation on womanhood, family, femininity and the subverting of expectations that makes a personal manifesto in transcending gender-defined roles into a cast-iron, crowd-searing festival-uniting call to arms in which she declares: “I am no mother, I am no bride - I am king”.
Being a woman artist, and one who performs provides its own conflict as to how to thrive and continue along the same path that male artists whose stars keep ascending, whose path to success is unimpeded by biology. In her mid-30s, these are the contradictions Florence is grappling with.
Florence said, “As an artist, I never actually thought about my gender that much. I just got on with it. I was as good as the men and I just went out there and matched them every time. But now, thinking about being a woman in my 30s and the future… I suddenly feel this tearing of my identity and my desires. That to be a performer, but also to want a family might not be as simple for me as it is for my male counterparts. I had modelled myself almost exclusively on male performers, and for the first time I felt a wall come down between me and my idols as I have to make decisions they did not.”