Ceremonials by Florence + the Machine
In case you didn't know, Florence is a machine!
Girl's got a rock outfit that can hold it's own with anything else to come of the English isles. The group's newest album is retains the deep, rich sound of the first, although this time the flavor is much darker.
First track - "Only If for a Night." Just like most of Florence' material, this aggressive ballad doesn't beat around the bush. It's a story of missing someone who's passed on. You'll find the emotion both in Florence' voice, and haunting strings, and the cavernous drum track.
Next up is probably my favorite track from this one, "Shake It Out." Compared to the rest of the album this one is pretty optimistic. If Needtobreathe was to work with Adele, I think this is what we'd get. Empowering without too much icing and sprinkles.
The next two are similar to me. Once again pretty somber, but ripe with soul. Miss Welch shares a lot of the soul sound of yesteryear that Adele has become known for. She doesn't have the lounge thing going on, but she sounds like she's singing because she has something inside her that needs to get out. "What the Water Gave Me" has a very "Rolling in the Deep" vibe. "Never Let Me Go" has a more modern sound with an interesting take on some dark ideas that to me have a very masochistic nature.
"Breaking Down" follows, and as is the case with a lot of alternative art music, its a song of irony. While the song sounds happy and upbeat, its content is dark. Depressing even. Check it out for yourself!
The next track, "Lover to Lover" is another that sounds like someone spilled some Adele in the Florence soup. Retro soul to the max. Simple writing, but still a ripe song.
"No Light, No Light" is number seven and it's a killer song. True to form, the drums are thunder, synth patches are dark, and vocals are glaring. This one doesn't paint a pretty picture - and that's why it's so awesome. Things don't always work out and that's it. No silver lining. No glass half full. Sometimes they just suck and you gotta deal:
No light, no light in your bright blue eyes
I never knew daylight could be so violent
A revelation in the light of day
You can choose what stays and what fades away
"Seven Devils" is up next and frankly, it's just creepy. I'll let you guys figure this one out yourself. Just don't listen to it for the first time in a dark room while the goods of thunder and lightning duke it out during a lunar eclipse...
Following "Seven Devils" is "Heartlines" and honestly that one just doesn't do much for me. However, after "Heartlines" is "Spectrum" and well, I've been listening to this disc all week and I really have no idea what that song is about. Sometimes I think its about some sort of awakening (spiritual, emotional) and other times I think that Flo is referring to some kind of religious or cult mentality. You can make your own deductions (as if this video will help...):
Next to last number is "All This and Heaven Too." This one is about things that are so inexplicable and special that words fail to describe. Love, heartbreak, music, paralyzing fear, the choice is yours, but the lyric sheet for this one reads like a poem. Just killer.
Final track is "Leave My Body." Great way to end an album that's got traces of Adele, U2, and Zeppelin. This is a dark gospelly tune that's a message of transcendence. The eerie part is that it could be a commentary on the soul escaping the confines of the body, but through a darker lens it could be the mind escaping from a horrifying, scarring situation. You can decide.
Overall, this is a killer (almost) concept album from the most dynamic female rocker from the U.K. in a long time. If you're already a fan you won't be disappointed, and if you're not, as long as you aren't expecting ponies and rainbows, this could have you cheering for Flo and her boys pretty quick.