Since the release of their debut album Lungs, Florence Welch and her talented band have captivated listeners with unique melodies and one of the most beautiful voices in the industry. And while most bands face a sophomore slump, Florence and the Machine’s new album, Ceremonials, continues the group’s success with a grand, elaborately produced product that is sure to please fans.
The opening song, “Only If For A Night,” begins with Welch’s powerful voice and a pounding piano—it’s mesmerizing, like in a church ceremony (hence the title of the album.) From there, the album continues to build and create an almost grandiose arrangement of music.
From songs like “Never Let Me Go” and “Lover To Lover,” the number of instruments involved in each song is incredible; you can hear horns, pianos, percussion and bells, harps, strings and, of course, the multiple vocal tracks. The use of these instruments complements the “ceremonial” theme perfectly. In the final song of the album, “Bedroom Hymns,” the opening percussion has an almost tribal-like feel and is a refreshing break from popular music. It seemingly combines modern day song motifs with more traditional sounding riffs.
The only criticism that can be said about this album is the production value is so ornate it can seem too impersonal and overdone. Fortunately, that does not change the fact that this album is a success in its own right. The music and the vocals complement each other very well, and even though the music is not quite as raw as it used to be, that simply means Florence and the Machine is evolving as a group of talented, groundbreaking musicians.
Ceremonials is a solid second step in Florence ¬and the Machine’s development as a group. This album demonstrates growth while still solidifying their unique general style, which is what musicians should strive to accomplish when releasing new music. Florence Welch continues to amaze with her distinctive voice and range, and the band’s ability to accompany her voice effectively is definitely something worth praising.