No one could have predicted the success humble Florence Welch would have had with her band Florence and the Machine’s 2009 debut album “Lungs.” She scored herself a Grammy from the album and became practically an overnight sensation. It is for this reason that her follow-up album, Ceremonials was one of the most anticipated albums of 2011.
The flame haired girl from London has one of the most powerful and angelic voices of this generation and that is still as apparent in this album as it was in “Lungs.” The first and only single to yet be released from “Ceremonials” is titled “Shake it out” and delivers Florence as we know and love her: belting out an anthem-like song at the top of her voice and holding each note pitch perfect. The first few tracks on the album live up to the high expectations that “Shake it Out” gave us. “Only if for a Night”, “What the water gave me” and “Never let me go” contain the signature Florence instruments of harp, tambourine, and piano and are some of the more mellow tracks on the album with a gothic inspired feel and a dreamy sound.
“Remain nameless“ hints massively at sounds of British based “The XX“ with an electronic sound, unusual for Drum banging, harp playing Florence and The Machine. “Breaking Down” sounds unlike Welch at points, both musically and vocally, but deserves as much credit as the others. “All this and heaven too” sometimes hints at parts of “You got the love” from “Lungs” but this is really one of the only comparisons between the albums which can be made.
The album also offers bonus, demo tracks which allow us to hear Florence stripped back to only an angelic voice, and improvised instruments (think hand clapping and a makeshift bass drum). These tracks sound just as perfect as the rest of the album.
A truly beautiful album but one which differs hugely from “Lungs” in the sense that this album is a lot mellower and arguably a little harder to listen to as each track is quite similar. “Lungs” was the type of album a girl could have put on before a night out and had a dance to. “Ceremonials” is for a tender head the morning after.