After an artist like Florence Welch releases such a stunning debut album, there’s one question forever hanging over them. Will their second album ever live up to expectations? Florence + the Machine have thus been trapped in an unforgiving battle with themselves since 2009.
But October 31 saw the London songstress released. Ceremonials is a tribute to its unstoppable predecessor, Lungs, with a collection of haunting, choral and truly beautiful tracks.
The album opens with Only if for a Night which like a choir of songbirds sets the tone for the album. Each delicate element which made Lungs brilliant has been reborn and lives on throughout this album. While the finish is less raw; the ghostly vocals, percussion and poetry of Lungs are amplified to perfection in Ceremonials.
Second track, Shake It Out is undoubtedly a crowd pleaser with melodies that will dance around your head for days, without compromising Welch’s refusal to conform to mediocre pop music.
But unlike Lungs, Ceremonials is perfectly polished and pruned. We miss out on the raw sound of tracks like Girl With One Eye and Hospital Beds. Some might call the album over produced, but to those people I say- surely it is natural for an artist’s music to progress with each album.
The only disappointment is that Ceremonials lacks the earthy soul of Lungs. Tracks like Shake It Out and Only If For a Night are undeniably catchy, but there is little evidence of the unassuming London girl we once knew.