Thursday, October 27, 2011

Florence + The Machine
Ceremonials: Deluxe Edition [2011]

The new Florence album doesn't tread any dramatic new ground, in fact, if you've heard her previous album, 'Lungs', you'll know exactly what you're in for as far as tone and sound goes. What Ceremonials does is build on an already signature sound for the singer, while taking it to a much bigger, yet still familiar place.

Lungs was a very whimsical and light sounding album, pretty harps and organic production were littered throughout the songs, and there was a child-like innocence to the overall sound of the music. 'Ceremonials' puts a much louder spin on that by amplifying the drums, and giving the songs a much more booming and epic scope.
There's an anger and sense of urgency in Ceremonials that was missing from Lungs, and even the more lighter songs on the new album maintain a very vast sound.

The beautiful, 'Shake It Out', is the perfect throw-back to Lungs and works well as the lead single off the album. The anthem sounding, 'What The Water Gave Me', hints at a song that would sound incredible with a live audience singing along, and the build up towards the final minutes in the track are perfectly produced. Other songs like 'Never Let Me Go' and the romantic sounding, 'All This And Heaven Too', have a similar build up.
The witchy and dark, 'Seven Devils', is slow and powerful with a beautiful choir on backing vocals, that choir is used again just as well in chorus for, 'Leave My Body' [my favourite song off the album]. The tribal-esque drums on 'Heartlines' are deep enough to shatter your speakers, and the drum and chant heavy, 'No Light No Light', is just as lively.

There are moments where the album feels a little "samey". There is so much use of the same sorts of instruments and chants that certain songs can get lost within the similar production. 'Spectrum' is a decent track, but i feel by the time i get to it, i've kinda heard it all before, so it loses a bit of impact for me. Personally, i think the bonus track, 'Strangeness and Charm' should have replaced it on the standard track listing. It packs a bit more of a catchy punch.
A couple songs are so over produced to the point of being a little overbearing as well, 'Breaking Down' and 'Lover To Lover' suffer because of that, and the melodies within the songs border on the cheesy side a little.

What the standard tracklisting lacks is made up for with a few of the bonus tracks from the deluxe edition. 'Remain Nameless' is a nice change of pace for Florence, less organic than the rest of the album, it would have broken up the standard track listing nicely, it's a great song. 'Bedroom Hyms', is a nice one also.

Much like 'Lungs', 'Ceremonials' is nearly perfect, but stumbles in a few areas that stop it from being flawless from start to finish. However, the good certainly out-weights the bad, and 'Ceremonials' is a strong sophomore effort from Florence. In many ways, it's actually stronger than her debut, and if you liked her previous work, you'll love this.

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