Florence + The Machine hit the music scene in 2009, with the near perfect record Lungs that showed the world a new artist with a unique sound and a wonderful style of music that instantly grabbed attention. Now, the band which is lead by English musician Florence Welch, have released their second album titled Ceremonials.
From the moment the second record was announced expectations were set very high, especially after the highly successful first album, and the the release of an extended version of the album with additional tracks.
While Ceremonials is a worthy follow up to the group’s debut record, it’s not quite on the same level. That is not to say the album is disappointing, quite the contrary, however, but it’s just that Florence’s attempt to diversify a little from the previous record may not sit with fans as well as Lungs did.
Ceremonials kicks off with the powerful Only If For A Night, which bring fans back to the first album with some terrific lyrics and story, as well as a unique and strong beat that Florence + The Machine brings to the table. The sharp and up beat chorus swings everyone back into action, right where we last left off with the band.
Those same powerful and passionate lyrics, delivered by Florence, amalgamates perfectly with the catchy tune in the next two wonderful songs, Shake It Out and What The Water Gave Me, which feature as the two opening singles for the record. These first three tracks focus on a large point of the album, the past and regret. The wonderfully emotive lyrics from Shake It Out exclaims that “regrets collect, like old friends” delving into the past points in life. This theme follows further on in the album with tracks like Spectrum.
The next track up, Never Let Me Go, is a beautiful soft ballad that will grab fans who enjoy rattling love songs that ring in the lighter vein of previous tracs like Drumming Song and Hurricane Drunk.
These first few songs really let everyone know that the band is back and in a big way. As we enter the next track, Breaking Down, we get that same theme, the past, it remains prominent as Florence tells us “even on my own, it was standing next to me”.
Breaking Down as well as tracks like Seven Devils and Spectrum is where this album really starts to diversify. The slower pace and depressing lyrics provide a side of Florence + The Machine that has yet to be seen, by following once again theme of the past. Though I like the change of pace that signifies a difference between the two records, there were one too many songs on Ceremonials that didn’t have the upbeat rhythm that has been made a signature part of Florence + The Machine.
However, Lover To Lover and No Light, No Light take us back to those faster paced songs that originally grabbed our attention. The love song vibe follows through with No Light, No Light, which is one of the many highlights on Ceremonials.
The smart and fast lyrics that Florence releases in lines like “no light, no light in your bright blue eyes, I never knew daylight could be so violent” explore a desperation and a passion that makes this band so wonderful and rare. These perfect lyrics, penned by Welch and Ed White, are pure brilliance.
Heartlines is another track that shows a little diversity. Though it follows the same make up of the more up beat songs, this track is also slower paced through the verse and chorus and shows a versatility in the band. The album’s eleventh track, All This And Heaven Too, picks up the pace once more and explores a great chorus and beautiful verse, that again depicts the fantastic writing on the album.
The album closes with the track Leave My Body. It’s a perfect track to finish the album, with great bass that rings through the whole thing. The song explores a culmination in the journey that the album takes you on, which brings us back to the theme of the past and the events in our lives. As Florence sings “I don’t want your future, I don’t need your past” we are drawn to the growth that has been explored on the album, that will connect, to no doubt nearly every listener, and take them into their own past and regrets.
The album also has a deluxe edition that holds another two wonderful new tracks in the perfectly emotive Bedroom Hymns and the little more obscure Remain Nameless, which are both great additions. As well as these two, the deluxe edition offers another 6 tracks which include Strangeness and Charm, a song that can also be found on Between Two Lungs, as well as demo versions of What The Water Gave Me.
The deluxe also has acoustic versions of Heartlines, Shake It Out and Breaking Down, as well as the music video of What The Water Gave Me. The deluxe edition is prefect for fans of Florence and I suggest checking it out.
Overall, Ceremonials is a great album with fantastic direction and image that could have only been accomplished by Florence + The Machine and the wonderful producer Paul Epworth. The record shows growth and journey with powerful, passionate lyrics and music that is utterly unique to the band that will delight all fans.
Two albums in and Florence + The Machine are a force to be reckoned within the music industry. The are quickly solidifying their place in the world with a signature sound and the exquisite voice of Florence Welch, which will surely, once again, make them one of the most talked about bands of the year.
Ceremonials was released on October 31st, 2011.