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Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials

Lisa Bentley


It seems like an age since Florence + the Machine released colossal debut album Lungs in the summer of 2009. Not only was it artistically fascinating but it introduced us to Florence Welch’s soulful and satiny voice, often sprinkled with quirky vehemence; a powerful tour de force. Florence returns this week with follow up album Ceremonials; two and a half years in the making. It is a phenomenal sequel.

The album opens with two massively theatrical numbers which initially set the tone – much like Lungs the album is littered with epic songs breaking out from the oppressive darkness of others on the track list. Only If For A Night is a glorious example of the kind of sound that we have come to expect from the pint sized chanteuse, draped with grand production, sweeping vocals, punctuated percussion in the form of piano and gorgeous rolling glissando’s. This is quickly followed by the second single release, Shake It Out. Both tracks hit you right between the eyes and make you realise that the length of time between this release from debut Lungs was very much worth the wait.

Breaking Down is the most interesting track on the album due to its musical shift. The production on the song is probably the most generically likeable; rather paradoxically it is also the one that maybe is most revealing, Welch having been plagued with mental health problems due to her sudden and dramatic rise to musical fame. The subject matter battling the musicality makes this song so very remarkable. Other notable songs on the album include Heartlines and Lover To Lover.

The high and low points on the album appear allegorical to the good and bad aspects of life, music and fame. Here is an album worthy of accurately depicting this and Ceremonials is most definitely a triumphant return to the music scene.