By Jon Wilson
Continuing from the successful debut album, Lungs, Florence and the Machine return with their endearing second studio album, Ceremonials. The powerhouse vocalist, Florence Welch, proves that she is more than just a one-hit-wonder by showcasing her talents with a vocally, lyrically and melodically exceptional sophomore album.
Welch, the lead singer and main lyricist of both Lungs and Ceremonials, is accompanied by her band which all together makes up Florence and the Machine.
Their musical style can be described as indie pop; baroque pop; indie rock as well as having some blues and soul elements
Welch is most famous for her epic track Dog Days Are Over and other standout singles Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) and You’ve Got The Love all from Lungs, but rest assured that she shows no intention to stop producing more powerful singles.
This is evident as promotional single, What The Water Gave Me, first single Shake It Out and upcoming second single, No Light No Light have all set the bar for Ceremonials.
Welch teamed up with Paul Epworth, who had produced some tracks on Lungs, for Ceremonials where he was the only producer.
Epworth helped produce one solid sound on the record which shows, as the album has a very unified sound with loud and melodic instrumentals that compliment Welch’s thunderous, yet also delicate voice.
On Ceremonials Welch appears darker and daring with her lyrics, but still maintains her signature style of metaphorical stories in each of the tracks.
There is a story apparent on each track on the 12-track record each track presenting the mind with so much imagery.
The album opens with one of the standout tracks, Only If For A Night, which has a bit of an R ‘n B influence, but also an orchestra backdrop to it. Influenced by the ghost of her dead grandmother, it initiates the whole trip you take on the album and is a great start.
Next is the powerful, Shake It Out, which in its own right is a true masterpiece. “And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back…” are some of the lyrics which showcase some of Welch’s influences in the form of ghouls, ghosts and devils.
Following is the heavily instrumental-like song, What The Water Gave Me, which is a direct result of Welch’s influence by Virgina Woolf’s suicide. It starts off as a gentle and fluid-like melody that progresses into an anthem-like rollercoaster ride.
Never Let Me Go follows and presents itself as another one of the standout tracks. It is a chilling and haunting track that catches your ear.
Next to follow is the mid-tempo track, Breaking Down, which shows Welch’s ability to soften a beat and give a happy-go-lucky feel to a song.
Lover To Lover and No Light No Light are next to follow. Both are very loud and bomb-like songs that display the power that Welch contains in her vocals.
The next track to follow is the very haunting, Seven Devils, which is least exciting song on the album, but still showcases Welch’s vocal variety.
Heartlines is another track with a slow start that builds up to a loud and vocal song worth of proclamation. It has a drum feel to it, reminiscent to Welch’s previous work, Drumming Song.
Next is a personal favourite off the album. Spectrum, which is clear representation of its literal definition, starts off slowly and then creeps as Welch’s vocals lead you into the powerful chorus. A definite standout track.
The last two tracks, All This And Heaven Too and Leave My Body are two wonderful tracks. The first is another drum-undertone song with a great feel to it, showing Welch’s range off once again. The closing track and possibly one of the best has a great anthem-like feel to it with haunting and memorable vocals. It is a great way to end of the album displaying imagery of a concession ending and people departing.
Ceremonials is a great album that catches your ear from the first listen. It is a truly memorable piece of work that solidifies Welch’s position in modern-day music. All together a great follow-up.