ALBUM REVIEWS: Florence + The Machine, Mallrat, Sasha Alex Sloan & Sigrid

Florence + The Machine – Dance Fever

Ethereally charged, Florence + The Machine’s fifth studio album ‘Dance Fever’ is a continuation of the British singer-songwriter’s honest and bold artistry. Over the course of her musical journey we’ve been accustomed to what a F+TM album sounds like and this record doesn’t move too far away from that sonical identity, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a captivating listen from the opening chords of ‘Free’ right through to the sweeping ‘Morning Elvis’. She delivers bold hooks, rich melodies, and honest songwriting that brings you into her cinematic world. 

‘My Love’ is a surprising dance moment that will please the ‘Spectrum (Say my Name)’ and ‘Sweet Nothing’ fans with its addictive refrain that won’t leave your head. ‘Choreomania’ is also one that leans into this big revolving production which you can already imagine becoming this epic live moment. But the rest of the album sits in more a moody classic Florence palette where her regal vocals take charge with songs like ‘Cassandra’, ‘Daffodil’, and ‘Girls Against God’ giving you a fresh perspective. 

Must Listen Tracks: ‘Choreomania’, ‘Dream Girl Evil’, ‘Back In Town’

Mallrat – Butterfly Blue 

The journey to Mallrat’s debut album has been a long and winding one, and as a fan from her 2016 debut EP ‘Uninvited’, I’ve fantasised along the way about what the record would sound and feel like. ‘Butterfly Blue’ is an honest and sincere representation of where she is at right now as an artist and as a woman. Throughout the 11 tracks, it feels like a real self-discovery moment. It’s all about letting her voice be heard, and being the confident version of herself that she’s become in her personal life through anxieties, heartbreaks and hardships. 

She describes the two social palettes for this album as angel choirs and monster trucks, and when you listen to it from start to finish you will really hear that visual shine through. ‘Your Love’, ‘Rockstar’, ‘Teeth’, and ‘Surprise Me’ bring the grit, while songs like ‘Obsessed’, ‘Arms Length’, ‘It’s Not My Body, It’s Mine’, and title track ‘Butterfly Blue’ play to the softer side of her artistry. But the albums shining moment is ‘To You’. This special moment feels like the Mallrat version of a Cub Sport song in the most beautiful and angelic way possible. It will have you daydreaming immediately, and feels like it’s been waiting for her debut album to have its long overdue moment in the sun.

Must Listen Tracks: ‘To You’, ‘Heart Guitar’, ‘Obsessed’

Sasha Alex Sloan – I Blame The World

Sasha Alex Sloan is our pessimistic sad girl queen who has this raw ability to say the things we all want to say but don’t know quite how to verbalise it. Her sophomore album ‘I Blame The World’ is as honest as her debut album ‘Only Child’, but it’s even darker with her outlook on her anxiety and depression with the state of the world over the past two years having a huge impact. But through the crippling ‘I Blame The World’, ‘Adult’, ‘Live Laugh Love’, ‘I h8 Myself’, and ‘WTF’, she does find a light that she holds onto through finding love with her fiancee and album’s producer King Henry. 

‘Thank you’ hears her thanking him for putting up with her through all of her moods and manic depression episodes, while the albums ‘Intro’ hears her confessing that her biggest fear is losing him. But ’Global Warming’ is the perfect embodiment of the way she brings those worlds together, and genuinely feels like the albums centrepiece moment. Admitting that the world is going to shit, and that her depression is real, she notes that she’s just happy she has him in her life. “Your love makes me forget bad things exist” she sings. 

Sasha has always had a strong wit to her writing with this ability to offset some of her deepest confessions with humour or random metaphors, and it’s become apart of her charm. Like, of course she found her way to confess her love in a song through detailing all the issues we have in the world. But one thing this album has also heard her experiment with is her production. The tracks are a bit more “live” inclined with drums and light synths making their way into the production to give you an upbeat contrasts to the honest lyricism. Overall ‘I Blame The World’ is an impressively strong follow up to ‘Only Child’ that feels like a perfect exploration of what it’s like to be alive right now with anxiety.

Must Listen Tracks: ‘Global Warming’, ‘Thank You’, ‘I h8 Myself’

Sigrid – How To Let Go

Sigrid entered the world stage with her synth-led debut album ‘Sucker Punch’ which felt like a coming of age explosion of emotion and euphoric release. It was an album that felt rooted in the current moment and was her way of introducing herself with so much colour and heart. Fast forward three years and her sophomore record ‘How To Let Go’ very much feels like a re-introduction as she steps into adulthood and finds her identity as an artist and a woman. 

Sonically this album has the big synth-pop moments like ‘Mirror’, ‘Burning Bridges’, ‘Thank Me Later’, and ‘A Driver Saved My Night’ which will be anthems in her live set for years to come, but the rest of the album sits more-so in a guitar led soundscape. These grittier tracks like ‘It Gets Dark’, ‘Risk Of Getting Hurt’, ‘Mistake Like You’ and ‘Bad Life’ play more on the emotions of her lyrics and brings these stories to life in a more authentic way instead of hiding behind bouncy synths. But can we just talk about the stunning nature of the piano ballad ‘Last To Know’, which feels like the 2022 version of ‘Dynamite’. The raw emotion is front and centre as she details her hoping that her ex is the last to know that she’s in a happy relationship and has moved on. “So I hope you’re the last to know that I’m feeling like this. Like I was hit by happiness” she honestly sings. 

As a whole ‘How To Let Go’ is a very different listening experience to ‘Sucker Punch’, but it’s one that feels like a mature step-up with her songwriting shining even brighter.

Must Listen Tracks: ‘Thank Me Later’, ‘Last To Know’, ‘A Driver Saved My Night’