Last year, Florence + the Machine reclaimed its spot on the charts with senior album “High As Hope.” Now, the English indie rock band is back with new singles “Moderation” and “Haunted House” to ring in the promising new year of music ahead.
The first song, “Moderation,” on the two-part release starts with a spunky “Want me to love you in moderation / Do I look moderate to you?” A jazzy drumline and piano spark lead into a hand-clapping gospel ballad as the band navigates a fine balance between going all-in for a full sound and maintaining self-control.
That’s what the song is about in the first place — reaching the point between committing one’s entire self unabashedly and “trying to be good,” as the lyrics state. Lead singer Florence Welch, who also performs the percussion on this song, touches lightly on the topic of love in both the spiritual and human essence. She does so by making references to being “in the house of God” as well as suggesting love is more complicated than being able to control the depth of our emotions.
The intimate B-side to this track is “Haunted House,” a quick one minute and 54 seconds of ethereal vocal tones and soft piano backing. This song reflects the eerie feeling many Florence + the Machine tunes provide to listeners, between whistling harmonies, extended vibrato and powerful ivory chords.
The song may start off in a wistful mood, but it gradually builds as the chorus rings “I’m not free yet” over and over. In this track, Welch compares the inner workings of her heart to a haunted house — active and terrifying in the night while sneaking into her thoughts during the day.
This pairing of songs may have been released together, but somehow showcase two drastically different sides of Welch’s artistic style. “Moderation” is an upbeat, sassy dedication to Welch’s confidence and power as a vocalist, a woman and a free spirit. “Haunted House,” on the other hand, showcases the vulnerable delicacy of Welch’s operatic voice in an emotional moment.
Both of these songs were released Jan. 24, shortly after Florence + the Machine was announced Jan. 9 as one of the headliners at New York City’s 2019 Governors Ball Music Festival. Other acts announced for the three-day event include The 1975, The Strokes and Tyler, The Creator.
Florence + the Machine has only released two records in the past nine years, so fans can only hope the release of “Moderation” and “Haunted House” so close to the band’s last album means that even more music is soon to come.