Magazine topic: 

Florence and the Machine: Ceremonials

by : 
Katie Hardy

It’s been a busy few years for Florence Welch. Three years ago nobody knew who she was; now she is the only Florence anybody cares about. The 25-year-old redhead from South London released her debut album Lungs in 2009, full of hits such as Dog Days Are Over and Rabbit Heart (Raise it up). She also put her original spin on the dance classic You Got The Love, belting it out in true Florence style.

This amazing first album means she has a lot to live up to! It seems like she has done it, with her new album Ceremonials stealing the number 1 spot in the UK music charts in its first week of release. It’s a whopping 20 tracks long, so you definitely get value for money. If you liked her first album you will like her second, as it continues in the magical world of Rabbit Heart (Raise it up), filled with ghosts and demons.

The opening track, Only If for a Night, is the tale of the most glamorous ghost ever, who is ‘all pink and gold and glittering’. This strange mystical world is matched by Florence’s voice, which often sounds a little ghostly. Pretty, delicate piano and guitar pieces are accompanied by her screaming in the background.

Listening to the whole album in one go becomes slightly repetitive, as most of the songs follow the same pattern. They generally begin quietly, followed by a chorus where she repeats the same words over and over again, usually with a choir. After this the music gets louder and louder, until the end when Florence stops singing any words and instead makes ghostly ‘oooh’ noises over the backing track. You only notice this pattern if you listen to the whole thing, which can cause you to develop the medical condition doctors have identified as ‘Florence Fatigue’ – you begin to miss the true power of her voice and her lyrics.

The best track on the album is Heartlines, which starts with a fun drum beat, tribal chanting and Flo’s trademark twinkly pianos and chimes. Perfect to dance around your room to before a big party. Strangeness and Charm compares love to atoms and chemicals – it’s more enjoyable than science class ever would be. Don’t listen to Breaking Down before going out for a fun night with friends as it might just make you break down like the title suggests. Listen on a rainy Sunday afternoon when you’d rather listen to music than do your homework.

The bonus on the deluxe version is the demo and acoustic tracks. These show the reason why Florence became so big in the first place. Without all of the otherworldly effects, her individual style only needs a quiet acoustic guitar to shine. She can sing. Her voice dances over the backing tracks, warbling like a bird, hitting high notes and low notes- this girl has Lungs.


Are you a Florence fan? What's your opinion of Ceremonials?