Album Review: Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials
In 2009, British songstress Florence Welch captivated music lovers with her soulful vocals and wonderfully theatrical songs. Florence + the Machine’ debut album, Lungs, went on to sell millions thanks to the commercial success of tracks like “Dog Days are Over” and “Cosmic Love.” Her sophomore effort, Ceremonials, is a sonic continuation of what makes Florence a true original and shows that she is a force to be reckoned with.
The album’s opener, “Only If For a Night” is a melodic feast of subtle harps and keys. Each track is a tale of love, whether it’s letting go of love or finding it. The theme is packaged in poetic lyrics and almost tribal drumming as each song unfolds itself. The released singles, “Shake It Out” and “What the Water Gave Me” represent the conceptual fight that runs throughout the whole record.
While Florence stuck with her unique sound and didn’t give into whatever commerical success “Dog Days” had, there are new elements that show Ceremonials as a progressive growth. There are still theatrics, but there’s more of a soul undertone that is complimented by background vocals. The tracks “Lover to Lover” and “Spectrum” are reminiscent of gospel/soul songs from the ‘70s. Other tracks are true to now Florence + the Machine classics. “No Light, No Light” is similar to “Cosmic Love” while the dark ballad, “Seven Devils” seems like a sequel to “Heavy in Your Arms.”
The driving force that deems this record a true masterpiece is that Welch has completely embraced her lower register, giving the album a distinct, mature sound. Ceremonials is vocally and sonically stunning. Die-hard fans will appreciate the fact that she stayed true to herself and where she’s from instead of partnering with mega-pop producers like Dr. Luke or Timbaland. This latest effort shows that theatre and drama can be accessible and beautiful in contemporary music, and Welch proves that she’s that style’s queen. **10/10