The dog days are decidedly over in "Queen of Peace/Long & Lost," the new double-feature video from London indie pop-rock megastars Florence and the Machine. The nearly 10 minute mini-movie is a gorgeous ode to the Scots countryside (director Vincent Haycock filmed it on the isle of Easdale), but its emotional frequency is less ode and more lament. Florence Welch, the band's powerhouse frontwoman, makes full use of her ethereal mythos in the video's epic narrative, playing both victim and healer to a group hell-bent on violence and destruction.
Welch has the capacity for big, booming pop songs, and "Queen of Peace" does have a horn section set to 11, but her singing is remarkably reserved, only opening up in glimpses during the song's emotional chorus. The high drama and striking visuals of the video at least match, if not surpass, both vocals and instrumentation in intensity.
The transition to the far quieter of the two singles, "Long & Lost," is as melancholy and natural as the corresponding arrival of night in the video's narrative. The final image of a mourning, reaching Welch, desolate on a silent dock, is telling as both an epic story's resolution and as an abstract portrayal of Welch as an artist, digging deeper and reaching harder than she ever has in this strange and wondrous performance.