Spectrum has the overall sound that you may have come to expect from Florence and the Machine: surreal charm and very distinct vocals with impeccable tone and clarity. This particular single really demonstrates Florence Welch’s vocal range. From the lower, huskier tones in her very individual voice to the purer high notes that really shine through, there is a variety of different sounds to be heard; a true highlight of this song.
The surreal charm I mentioned earlier is characterised in Spectrum by a number of things. The song begins in a very eerie manner, drawing attention through quiet suspense. A gradual build up to the chorus keeps this focus from the listener by not quite revealing what they are about to hear. Pay some attention to the vocals here as it is definitely worth remembering: it exhibits the lower end of Florence’s range, which could later be overlooked by the louder and more memorable chorus. The melody at this point is building continually, creeping up in the background, until the whole song seems to explode.
The chorus is loud and catchy, making a dramatic change from the opening, though it maintains the eeriness that, in this case, is part of the song’s charm. Through the chorus, the excellent orchestration becomes clear: each layer of the song works around the others while very much keeping its own little melody going. If one layer were to be played separately from the others it would no doubt hold its own, yet when played with the others, the sound is brilliant. Add to this the pure tones from Florence’s voice that have me so enraptured, and there is this kind of perfect weirdness that is really enjoyable.
Ending with one of those song layers holding its own, Spectrum sounds almost like a musical box when it comes to a close: it is sweet, it is charming and it is a little spooky. It must be difficult to convey these things in such harmony, but I think Florence and the Machine embrace weirdness in a way that makes it truly possible. Spectrum is strange and surreal, and very, very special.
Spectrum by Florence and the Machine is out on the 8th of July on Island Records.