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Review : Ceremonials – Florence and the Machine

7/10 starsCeremonials

I’ll lay down at the beginning what I like about these guys. Florence Welch has a super-powerful voice, but of course voice can’t do shit till there are good songs. I bought their first album Lungs about 6 months back and loved it for it’s strong songwriting, musical diversity and perhaps most importantly, for it sounding like a group, instead of a pop diva along with her backing band. Also, Florence has a voice that can blast through doors but there she kept it in check, holding it back till the decisive moment. What I mean is, it didn’t feel like she was exploiting her vocal power for show and superficial thrills.

On Ceremonials, alas, they are going in the wrong direction. It feels like she’s been advised by producers and music-industry gurus that her voice is only suited for big-band epics and anything less bombastic is simply a waste of her voice. This is really too bad. It’s produced an album that, after the first few songs which are really good, rapidly sinks into overblown monotonousness that gave me a pounding headache, to be honest. It doesn’t help that the album is four songs overlong.

Only if for a night is a great big opener evidencing her wide vocal range, though I have a bone to pick with some of the lyrics (“It was all so strange, /And so surreal, /That a ghost should be so practical. ” ) which sound hilariously awkward. Shake it out is the track which introduced me to Miss Welch, and it is a fantastic one. What the water gave me was a hit single,and is all dark and stuff, but the melody is tired and uninspired,  at least in my opinion( Who else’s opinion would I be giving?). Never let me go is silly schmaltz.

Breaking Down is lennonesque, and I love it. In fact you should check it out on Youtube right now. Prettiness. Next follow some attempts at diversity which do not work very well. Mediocre at best. Sure, her voice is incredible. So the songs are listenable.

Simply too many bombastic epics which take themselves too seriously. Big drums. Big arrangements. Lack of freshness. Lack of fun. Not enough standout melodies. Oh hell, maybe I just don’t like the epic treatment. But I stand my ground that Florence and the Machine‘s second album is less creative and a step in the wrong direction. I read that Lady Gaga’s producer made an offer to Florence to come and record their songs. In other words, become a pop diva singing their songs and selling gazillion records by cultivating an image. She refused. But this here’s got me worried. Florence, be in a band, please. Wikipedia says you’re an indie band. How so? Because you don’t sell as many albums as Adele? Nevermind. I like you.

Football anthems. Fuck that shit.


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