Lungs is the debut album by English indie rock band Florence and the Machine, released on 3 July 2009 by Island Records. The album debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart for five weeks after its release. On 10 January 2010 the album returned to number two extending its stay at the runner-up spot to six non-consecutive weeks. The following week it reached its new peak position of number one for two consecutive weeks. So far it has spent sixty-five consecutive weeks within the top forty and thirty-three of those inside the top ten. It also peaked at number two for six weeks on the Irish Albums Chart.
The album was a main contender for the 2009 Mercury Prize and received largely positive reviews from music critics. Additionally, it won the MasterCard British Album award at the 2010 BRIT Awards. Lungs has sold more than three million copies worldwide. Florence and the Machine recorded Lungs in the United Kingdom with four different producers—Paul Epworth (who has previously worked with several other British artists, including Bloc Party, Maximo Park and Kate Nash), James Ford (who is part of the electro group Simian Mobile Disco), Stephen Mackey (former member of Pulp) and newcomer Charlie Hugall. Most of the songs on the album were mixed by Cenzo Townshend. The album is noted for having a much more expansive production than Florence and the Machine's previously recorded demos.
Several songs on Lungs are about violence and death. When questioned about this by the NME, lead singer Florence Welch responded: "Well, what other subject is there? I remember realising that my parents were going to die and weeping. Weeping as if my father had actually died."
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock since the beginning of the year, you’ll be aware of Florence and the Machine. Before even releasing an album, the first lady and her revolving band have been championed by BBC Introducing, invited to play Glastonbury and support Blur at Hyde Park, and won the Critic's Choice Award at this year’s BRITs. Now they're being tipped for Mercury Prize glory. How can an album possibly live up to the pressure of all that expectation? I don't quite know… but it does by the gallon.
Florence Welch's distinctive voice intertwines beautifully with harps, strings and drums as she sings her inimitable 'soul inspired indie' and 'Tim Burton-style fairytales'. The gothic pop of Lungs has been excellently produced by a crack team - Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, Jack Penate, Maximo Park), James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, Klaxons, Last Shadow Puppets) and Steve Mackey (Pulp, M.I.A.).
There's so much brilliant stuff it's difficult to know where to begin. The soaring crescendo of new single Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), the achingly beautiful Howl and a breathtaking cover of The Source classic You Got The Love. Drumming is a fabulous nail-on-the-head song about what it feels like to be in love.
There are touches of Mama Cass on happy clappy debut single Dogs Days Are Over and at the other end of the energy scale, the twinkly loveliness of Hurricane Drunk. The low points are few – perhaps that I'm Not Calling You A Liar falls a bit flat between choruses, and the lyrics to Girl With One Eye are closer to disturbing than kooky. But mostly it's sheer gleeful bliss listening to Lungs.
Florence says music is, ''at best a kind of magic that lifts you up and takes you somewhere else''. With vocals building from breathy almost-nothings to soaring, arching crescendos and the accompanying harps, strings, hopes and dreams, this album takes you somewhere you'll never want to come back from. When news gets out that she writes her best stuff, ''when drunk or hungover'', Florence's transition from unknown to British classic will be complete.