Florence and The Machine – Spectrum: Music Video Review

June 11th, 2012

Flo’s Spectrum? More like Tutankhamum: The Musical Ballet via a bespangled kaleidoscope of high fashion.

Some artists see music videos as merely another promotional element that can be churned out as quickly as possible with little thought. some, like Florence Welch and that Machine she brings along with her, recognise the potential for showcasing their identity as an artist whilst bringing songs to life in bombastic, somber or simply crazy fashion. Have a gander back through their videography and you’ll hardly find one dull moment:

Dog Days are over mark #1 – abducted by glitter clowns in the woods, gloriously low budget.Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up) – a greek banquet (again in the woods) complete with Kate Bush dancing.Drumming Song – actual choreography plus flailing around an old church.You’ve Got The love – riding a moon in a sky of balloons like the Dreamworks fisher person.Dog Days Are over mark #2 – avatar backing singers! Sherbet explosions! Mystical drum procession!Shake it Out – masquerade orgy and some serious ballgowned seriousface.no Light no Light – chased by voodoo priest, fall off building, caught by choirboys.never let Me Go – ice skating and drowning above water. Oh and some clogged toilets just for the lolz.

There are more but I think you get the point – it’s easy yet hard to guess what Florence will do next. On the one hand, it’s always been something delightfully eccentric (although budgets have got bigger and her status as a fashion icon have seen the arty-ness explode upwards) but what it will actually involve is anyone’s guess. Director for Spectrum is a joint collaboration between fashion/fine art photographer David LaChapelle (he was the one who sued Rihanna for the S&M video copycat affair) and choreographer David Byrne. already I’m thinking bright colours, frenetic dancing and waves of glitter out of the pages of Italian Vogue but only watching the video will actually answer any queries.

If you’re familiar with the song, you’ll know of the line from the chorus “As every colour illuminates”. well scratch that out and rephrase it because judging by Scene One it should read “As even my crotch illuminates” because that’s what it does. Flo has either developed her own glowing nudity censor (which, for any Z-List celeb, would mean never wearing knickers again) or that’s one hell of vajazzle going on. if you can look past this the glow and avoid involuntary blindness, then good on you – it’s onto le ballet du constant-pirouette. yes, the red tiered hair may be Egyptian High Priestess of the Redheads but the dancefloor is strictly Swan Lake, silver and pearly whites. Yep this is definitely one to break out the HD for.

You’ve got to give it to Florence Welch – she knows how to go from ice queen to possessed demon in the space of a chorus. Post-pirouette land, Flo can be seen with a couple of Egyptian-esque bodyguards in a flooded cardboard cityscape complete with ice-flame plinth for her gold-sequinned self. It’s like that point in old Power Rangers episodes where the bad guy would suddenly grow a hundred feet tall and waltz around some minature buildings. there is a wind machine a-blowing, water a-splashing and more hand gestures than bollywood dancers would know how to cope with. Inside one of the mini buildings is a mini Florence constantly revolving en-pointe as actual Flo looks on bored as hell before whipping her cloak off in defiance of the young pretender. to reveal a gold disco catsuit. Oo-er. Seriously, that mini Flo is scary and I’m afraid she’ll be there miming to Florence + The Machine songs half covered in shadow at the foot of my bed. Finally, the perfect way to end a video? A massive ballet dog-pile. Sergei Diaghilev would be turning (or rather performing a chassis) in his grave right now if he could see this but think how different Black Swan would have been if Natalie Portman had just gone ‘Ah what the heck… PILE-ON!’ as she lay wounded on her crashmat.

Ok maybe it could have done without the dodgy watch product placement (get ready for ‘original fans’ to start claiming she’s sold out) and a little less ballet posturing in favour of another of LaChapelle’s madcap world set-ups but it’s a great video full of colour, energy and Flo looking particularly stunning. As a frontwoman, Florence Welch knows what she’s doing and it’s a brilliant veichle for her to go crazy even if the old folk spirit has kinda been left on the back burner. in terms of this being a commercial success, it should be but after the disappointing chart positions of no Light no Light and never let Me Go (although that hit number 3 in Australia) I wouldn’t be suprised if it does little to dent the top 40. The Calvin Harris remix on the EP should help bring in some more sales considering he is everywhere at the moment (his song for Cheryl Cole, call my Name, will probably end up being number 1 this week) but in the mean time just enjoy the sheer abandonment of a good Florence music video, it might be a while before the next one…

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Florence and The Machine – Spectrum: Music Video Review

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