(2012) Ceremonials

Florence + The Machine

... read moreThere’s a point just past the halfway mark on “Shake It Out,” the rousing first single from Florence + the Machine's second studio release, when the swelling guitars, organs, and strings, staccato percussion, and Florence Welch's air-raid siren of a voice lock up in a herculean battle over which one...

01:08′:45″ 15 Songs

1
Only If For A Night
Florence + The Machine
4:58
2
Shake It Out
Florence + The Machine
4:40
3
What The Water Gave Me
Florence + The Machine
5:32
4
Never Let Me Go
Florence + The Machine
4:37
5
Breaking Down
Florence + The Machine
3:49
6
Lover To Lover
Florence + The Machine
4:03
7
No Light, No Light
Florence + The Machine
4:35
8
Seven Devils
Florence + The Machine
5:06
9
Heartlines
Florence + The Machine
5:01
10
Spectrum
Florence + The Machine
5:14
11
All This And Heaven Too
Florence + The Machine
4:11
12
Leave My Body
Florence + The Machine
4:36
13
Spectrum (Say My Name) (Calvin Harris Remix)
Florence + The Machine
3:38
14
Breath Of Life
Florence + The Machine
4:08
15
Take Care (Bbc Live At Maida Vale)
Florence + The Machine
4:37
Released 01 January 2012, ℗ 2012 Universal Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

Review

There’s a point just past the halfway mark on “Shake It Out,” the rousing first single from Florence + the Machine's second studio release, when the swelling guitars, organs, and strings, staccato percussion, and Florence Welch's air-raid siren of a voice lock up in a herculean battle over which one is going to launch itself into the stratosphere first. It’s a contest that plays out at least once on each of Ceremonials' immaculately produced 12 tracks. Such carefully calculated moments of rhapsody would dissolve into redundant treacle in less capable hands, but Welch does emotional bombast better than any of her contemporaries, and when she wails into the black abyss above, the listener can’t help but return the call. Bigger and bolder than 2009’s excellent Lungs, Ceremonials rolls in like fog over the Thames, doling out a heavy-handed mix of Brit-pop-infused neo-soul anthems and lush, movie trailer-ready ballads that fuse the bluesy, electro-despair of Adele with the ornate, gothic melodrama of Kate Bush and Floodland-era Sisters of Mercy. Producer Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, Friendly Fires) knows that the fiercest weapon in his arsenal is Florence herself, and he stacks her vocals accordingly, creating a fevered, pagan gospel choir on “What the Water Gave Me” and “Leave My Body,” a ghostly, Phil Spector-ish chorale on the surprisingly Beatlesque “Breaking Down,” and a defiant, uplifting horde of merry pranksters on the spirited “Heartlines,” resulting in that rare sophomore outing that not only manages to avoid the slump, but bests its predecessor in the process. ~ James Christopher Monger