Florence + The Machine ‘Ceremonials’ – Album Review
First album, Lungs, from Florence + The Machine was easily one of the most unexpected crossover pop successes. Fast forward to the release of their second album Ceremonials on October 31st and Florence + The Machine is still creating music that showcases Florence Welch’s beautiful voice with a larger than life sound. Ceremonials is an exquisitely crafted baroque pop record that is sure to stir the audience both emotionally and spiritually.
An artistic representation of Ceremonials would be the inner architecture and décor of the palace at Versailles: Extravagant, ornate and awe inspiring with an almost transcendent quality. Florence + The Machine beautifully harmonizes grand instrumentation so that it is not overwhelming but powerful and majestic. This album is full of opulent pop arrangements, glittering harp appearances, intricately layered harmonies, strategic and forceful percussion and of course Welch’s expressive and expansive vocals.
“Only If For A Night” builds from softer harp and piano into a beautiful culmination of soulful vocals and percussion. Previously released tracks “Shake it Out” and “What The Water Gave Me” make an appearance next. “Never Let Me Go” is reminiscent of an 80s love ballad with its hazy vocals and musical cloud of guitar, piano and synth instrumentation. “Breaking Down” is a beautiful chamber orchestra piece. 80s influence reappears in “Lover to Lover” while church organ and Welch’s voice add an Arethra Franklin like quality. “No Light No Light” is a more sophisticated version of “Kiss With A Fist” from Lungs.
The album takes an eerie turn with “Seven Devils” a song that builds with X Files theme piano, warning violin and strong percussion topped with calmer vocals from Welch. “Heartlines” and “Spectrum” keep the momentum of the album flowing. “All This and Heaven Too” is another powerful love ballad strategically building into Welch’s trademark vocal bursts. “Leave My Body” ends the track list with gorgeous soulful vocals over another lush musical arrangement.
Ceremonials is one of the best album releases of 2011 if not the best. Florence + The Machine continue to produce lavish musical arrangements featuring their distinctive percussion and Welch’s unique signature. Each song is ornate and dramatically crafted like a baroque art piece. You can buy Florence + The Machine’s Ceremonials here.
1. Only If for Night
2. Shake It Out
3. What The Water Gave Me
4. Never Let Me Go
5. Breaking Down
6. Lover to Lover
7. No Light No Light
8. Seven Devils
11. All This and Heaven Too
12. Leave My Body