My Boy Builds Coffins
Label: Universal-Island Records Ltd.
You can't get much more English than a name like Florence Welch, but the woman behind Florence + the Machine owns up to it and then some. Her powerful pipes plow through familiar Brit bases -- Joss Stone's neo-soul, PJ Harvey's eerie rock, Kate Bush's artsy pop, Goldfrapp's flirty electro-pop. But she also digs around in other terrains, hitting the sultry jadedness of Fiona Apple and Cat Power ("Girl With One Eye") and battling White Stripes-like riffs ("Kiss With a Fist"). She's very smart about it too, bringing in a wealth of musicians skilled in each of the styles she takes on.