Newest Review: ... piano melody. There is a watery theme that runs through the album. First single What the Water Gave Me was written about Virginia Wool... more
An incredible second album from Florence + the Machine
Ceremonials - Florence + the Machine
Member Name: Chandelier
Ceremonials - Florence + the Machine
Advantages: Wonderful songs - atmospheric and euphoric
Disadvantages: None, it is pretty near perfect
I'm not sure if I can describe how thrilled I was when I first heard this album. I really enjoyed Florence and the Machine's first album but this one was a step up to absolute brilliance. I have listened to it absolutely numerous times since, and it stays just as enjoyable.
Only If for a Night isn't the strongest opener but sets the scene for some of the themes of the album such as loss and water. It is haunting and passionate, building to a gorgeous cacophony that melts away into the sound of church bells.
It paves the way for the utterly brilliant and exhilarating Shake it Out. Growing from a quiet beginning into the stunning chorus, it is deceptively simple but it gets right under your skin, will have your heart beating faster and fill you with pure joy.
The darker and magical What the Water Gave Me completely encompasses you. It's theme is drowning and does give you the musical equivalent of being swept away in a current. Again there is a fantastic chorus, a wonderfully textured swirl of vocals, and really showing off the technical brilliance of Florence Welch's voice.
Never Let Me Go starts gently, with the feel of staring at a still calm lake and draws you in to a delicate embrace. A song that is very much driven by the vocals accompanied by simple chords and barely any drums, it soars and floats gracefully in the most beautifully dreamy way.
Breaking Down is musically very distinct from the rest of the album sounding more like Arcade Fire. Which of course, means it is yet another brilliant song! It has an orchestral pop feel, and is probably the warmest (almost cosiest) track on the album, despite at the same time having undercurrents of loneliness and retaining some of Florence's usual gothic style. It is a hard mesh to pull off, but it is done wonderfully well.
Lover to Lover is another exhilarating display of vocal ability as well as being a fantastically joyous and immediate song. It has a more classic feel to it with it's simple bass and piano and catchy chorus.
No Light, No Light is a trademark gothic spectacular. Starting out as a hazy, dreamily harmonic vocal piece, the drums and harps kick in with a bang, it is insistent and powerful with a soaring melody, a song that grows and grows as it goes on, absolutely carrying you into the sky. The chanting, atmospheric climax feels like it should the be the soundtrack to some intense primal religious ritual.
Seven Devils is another tune that makes you feel like you have been swept away in a swirling torrent of water, or caught up in an intense storm. A slowly dark pounding beat and moodily intense piano gives it an air of menace, whilst there is an animal, howling quality to the vocals.
Heartlines also has a primal feeling to it in the stark drums and vocals. This is more of a waterfall than a storm, swooping and falling, with a rush of intensity and stunning harmonies.
Spectrum is another of the truly euphoric songs on the album. Starting quietly and building up through the vocals, when the beat kicks in you can almost feel it fill your whole body. The chorus is joyful and angelic, with a real gospel influence and feel to them, followed by an almost disco sounding bridge, which just shows there are few genres that Florence can't mix into her music, whilst still staying true to herself.
The harps and gorgeous melody of All This and Heaven Too make this one of the lightest and brightest songs on the album. You can almost smell summer whilst listening to it, it is so full of sunshine. There is a hopefulness and yearning to it that makes it contrast to the darkness of much of the rest of the album.
Leave My Body starts in another soulful swirl of harmony, with the soul theme continuing with the call-and response type vocals, contrasting with punchy drums. The songs grows in intensity, with its driving rhythm and multi part harmonies before gradually dropping layer upon layer and returning to a final hazy white noise of vocals.
The album is viscerally evocative, dark, dreamy, euphoric, magical, gothic, haunting, joyful, intense and hypnotic, often at the same time. It is one that fills your brain and heart with images, mostly of the darkest and wildest pictures of nature. I hope I have gone some way to capturing what a brilliant album this is and would recommend it to anyone to try. I'm off to buy a thesaurus so I can do Florence's next album justice!
Summary: A brilliant second album, backed with an incredible mixture of emotions and textures.