Album Reviews

Florrie – The Lost Ones

(Xenomania/BMG) UK release date: 14 June 2024

Florence Arnold, long part of the Xenomania production team, finally gets her debut solo album out. But has it been in the making too long?

Florrie - The Lost Ones The debut album from Florrie has been a long time in the making – over 15 years in fact. Florence Arnold has long been part of the Xenomania production team, having become their in-house drummer in 2008 (The Promise by Girls Aloud was her first credit). She also wrote some songs on the side, releasing tracks on the internet for free, and eventually began to release EPs.

However, a succession of internal battles after she’d signed to Sony meant that Florrie’s career hung in limbo for a fair while. Then, in 2018, she was dropped from Sony and there were rumours that she’d quit music. Happily though, she’s now eventually reunited with Xenomania and we have The Lost Ones, a title which could have easily referred to many of these songs.

Knowing the backstory, there’s a sense of catharsis to a lot of the tracks on The Lost Ones. The title tracks opens proceedings, and it’s a big, singalong anthem which could stand alongside Katy Perry‘s Roar or Rachel Platten‘s Fight Song in its air-punching, inspirational quality. That’s followed by Never Far From Paradise, another shiny synth pop number, full of the hooks and quirks that you’d expect from the Xenomania machine.

The only issue is that it all begins to sound pretty formulaic rather quickly. It’s not helped that the album feels front-loaded in featuring all the singles released so far in the first half. Tracks like Kissing In The Cold and Love Hearts try to recreate that ‘feeling sad while dancing’ feeling but without the gold that someone like Robyn can comfortably and regularly strike.

It’s not without its charms though – an old song like I Took A Little Something (originally released back in 2011 and re-recorded for The Lost Ones) is positively bursting with energy and invention, with an exhilarating rush that can make you feel giddy if played loud. Get You Back, another old song revived for the album, is another highlight, but it’s never a good sign if the best tracks on an album are over a decade old.

That said, closing track Jealous does give some hope to the future – a sad, reflective ode to not being quite over a relationship, which drops the club banger stylings and shows Florrie’s voice off to its best advantage. But elsewhere, The Lost Ones is a bit too predictable and, maybe inevitably given how long its gestation period has been, a bit dated – especially when someone like Charli XCX can release an album that feels like it’s effortlessly reinventing pop music.

The music world moves on very quickly, which is the main issue with The Lost Ones – it feels like an album that’s been in the making for far too long. It does highlight Florrie’s undoubted talent though, and with this monkey now off her back, a future album should hopefully let her own song writing personality shine through.

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Florrie – The Lost Ones
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