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Florence + The Machine and Josh Homme - 'Jackson' (Nancy Sinatra/ Lee Hazlewood cover)

Flo reveals her softer side

Dean Chalkley/NME
Photo: Dean Chalkley/NME
Florence has already proved twice over that she can tame that torrent of a voice in the service of an affecting duet, first tackling ‘Suspicious Minds’ at the NME Awards 2009 with James Allan and then joining The Horrors for ‘Still Life’ at this year’s ceremony, without blasting either offstage. Further proof that full-throttle is far from Florence’s only setting comes with her ‘MTV Unplugged’ album, due out April 9. Recorded with a 10-piece gospel choir in New York just before Christmas, the 11-song acoustic set features this take on the Jerry Leiber/Billy Edd Wheeler song made famous by Nancy and Lee and, later, Johnny Cash and June Carter, backed up by Josh Homme.

Where the original’s sprightly skip is full of fiery humour, a lovers’ tiff turned “see if I care” bluff-off, Flo and Josh start in a more haunted manner, but it isn’t long before that bitchy back and forth carries them away on a fingerpickin’ country freight-train, their voices as well-matched as their hair.

Emily Mackay

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