Music Review Monday: Ceremonials

Just when you thought that “Dog Days Are Over” was getting tired and overdone – they’re back, and even better.

Unless you live under a rock, or are completely ignorant to modern pop culture – you have heard of Florence Welch.

More commonly known as the driving force of Florence & the Machine, or in my humble opinion: Florence – The Machine.

This woman is a vocal titan, and the once opera singer inside me screams with jealousy every time I hear her voice.  We all know she’s amazing.

And not just her – but the band that supports her and allows her to shine so brightly.  It’s pretty clear how incredible they are with the example of their new album:Ceremonials

Welch’s second album is just as hauntingly romantic and powerful as her first.  (wait- you don’t have her first album? you absolutely need it) It’s obvious she knows what’s she’s doing, and she continues to do it flawlessly – creating a unique style of Brit Pop that is more triumphant than anything I’ve ever heard from Coldplay.

Like her first album, many of the tracks in Ceremonials are filled with soaring orchestral arrangements that are only fitting for Welch’s vocal prowess.

You may have heard her first single from the album entitled “Shake It Out” – one of the brightest albums on the track, celebrating triumph over hardship and a rebirth into new life.

I LOVE the song and can’t get enough of it, but what *really* got me hooked was the video:

The video shows an upward-looking Welch, dressed all in red arriving at a masquerade ball.  The party seems reserved at first but gradually grows into a tumultuous symphony of fun.

People are holding chairs above their heads, taking off their masks and the whole nine (now you know it’s crazy).

Florence however, is caught with a crowd of  more reserved masked (and unsurprisingly attractive) men who try to hold Florence back from the festivities (“And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back/So Shake Him Out”) but by the end she is seen in a white dress high in the trees, victorious over the pressures of high society and keeping up appearances.

So you know….a normal progression for things.  Altogether, it’s a lovely and beautiful filmed video full of symbolism and wonderfulness, and I could certainly go on about it….

But I digress.

“Shake It Out” is certainly a highlight of the record, but for me there are many other tracks that stand out as well.  Hopeless romantics and those with Ophelia complexes will love “What The Water Gave Me,” in which a forsaken love causes the singer to retreat to a watery tomb rather than live alone.

In total opposition to that is “Breaking Down” – a U2-esque ballad with the perfect blues-y notes and a hint more rock and roll.

“Heartlines” is a tribal-sounding track with pounding drums that hearkens back to “Drumming Noise” – except more choral and a bit brighter.  “Only If For a Night” is my other absolute favorite song from the album – with flawless vocals and a lovely piano melody.

Overall the album has a bit more soul than her first while still retaining the soaring classical sound that made her famous to begin with.  It’s like Adele mixed with Annie Lennox mixed with Coldplay…

…Except better.

Buy the new album Ceremonials for yourself or for all your friends! And tell us what you thought of the “Shake It Out” video – and let us know what music videos or artists you’d like to take a closer look at!

Have you heard the new album yet? Did you like it?