Florence and the Machine Gets Recharged
“Ceremonials” from British break-out artist Florence + The Machine is packed full of the mystical and haunting elements that helped boost Florence Welch and her backing musicians to popularity with their first album release of “Lungs” in 2009.
This sophomore album is 12 tracks––16 if you purchase the deluxe edition––of otherworldly enjoyment with creative imagery laced into each tune. Welch, who is revered as a fashion icon due to her unique personal style and stand-out red locks, has a vocal range that perfectly suits the lovely moments of the album (“Never Let Me Go,” “All This And Heaven Too”) as well as the darker ones (“Seven Devils,” “What The Water Gave Me”).
While many music listeners are used to seeing bands evolve from album to album, Florence + The Machine has managed to stay quite constant when it comes to style and substance of their work. The only change that should be noted is that “Ceremonials” is less chorus-heavy, allowing Welch to vacillate her voice around verses that sing of “the entrails of the animals, the blood running through” (“Heartlines”), and other exotic images.
The mystical elements of “Ceremonials” cannot, however, be likened to a fairytale. Mystical does not imply unicorns and fairy princesses, but rather, werewolves and the powers of natural elements like the ocean, the heart, and one’s body. Florence, who co-wrote all of the tracks on “Ceremonials”, is not a Taylor-Swift songwriter who writes songs using inspiration from her diary. Welch creates a physical feeling or an experience to match her thoughts and feelings, the songs place the listener in a new, creepy, and imaginative dimension.
This transcendental style of each song is what sets this British artist apart from other indie-soul-pop groups of today, because not only is Florence unique in her style, but everything she writes is catchy. The popular music roots of each track is what brings the listener in, but the obscure nature and haunting vocals are what draw the listener back again and again and again.
“Ceremonials” is all a fan could ask for in a sophomore album: a combination of new material with the same, familiar, yet distinctive aesthetic––and how fitting that an album with so many otherworldly elements would be released on Halloween weekend?