Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials

by Bianca Gracie (Communications/Journalism), published November 30th 2011

Moldy | Stale | Edible | Fresh | Tasty!

British indie pop band Florence + The Machine’s sophomore project, Ceremonials (released on November 1), took the dramatic notes from their 2009 debut effort Lungs and built on it tremendously, making for a large and bold album. Applying this change was deemed either a hit or miss by many critics, but I don’t just think they used it to the best of their ability.

“Only If For a Night” is a dramatic opening, sounding like something out of a dream sequence. The surreal and symphonic sounds set the tone for the rest of the album. “Shake It Out,” the first single from the record, is one of my favorites. The upbeat rhythm is a nice change for the band.

 Ceremonials centers around dark and thrilling sounds, which is shown in the track “What The Water Gave Me.” The gospel organs give a chilling sound. It’s folk-inspired with its vocal layering; lead singer Florence Welch’s voice is softer and less intimidating for a change. Yet the record begins to lose steam with the latter half of the album, including the draining “No Light, No Light.” I would save it for something to play in the background of a dramatic television show a la “Gossip Girl.”

The 60’s inspired “Breaking Down” picks up the speed with its unexpected simplicity. The track is a moody take on classic surf-pop; I appreciate that Welch isn’t shouting at the listener like she tends to do in most of her songs. The Lucifer-infested “Seven Devils” is soulful, evil, haunting and otherworldly; it is the strongest track from the record.

 Ceremonials begins with a strong fury, yet loses steam quickly as the songs begin to sound uncomfortably repetitive. How much longer could the band members stretch out the gothic/dark theme? With their debut album the band dived into different sounds that all worked together. Yet with Ceremonials, the one sound they got stuck on just became exhausting.

Recommended Tracks: What the Water Gave Me, Shake It Out, Seven Devils

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