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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Florence + the Machine

Florence + the Machine

Island Records

Rating: 4

“You are a revelation” sings the scarlet headed Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine in the recently released Ceremonials. For anyone who remembers her aptly titled first album, Lungs, Welch is again singing full throttle here, exhaling booming vocals like only few lungs can through some 16 soulfully drum-heavy songs totaling what will, for many, be a revelation.

For others, this album will be an exercise in exhaustion. It is, faithfully, echoing the popular zeal of her first album and then some, a high energy experience. Approach it otherwise and it is liable to become an assault. That is, of course, the inevitable charm of the often blaring Florence and her machine. Welch has the rare sort of capacity to overwhelm in the best, and perhaps lesser, of ways.

That is in part because Ceremonials can’t help but arc toward the explosive. It knows little calm, and the often heavy drums slam in rhythm with the epic, the sweeping and the quasi-pop to match the weighty vocals that Welch breathes with cosmic scope.

It should come as no surprise, then, that by the end of the album, Welch’s voice was like dark chocolate on the ears — rich and potent and probably preferable in a slimmer dose, but delectable nonetheless.

Give these tracks a listen: “Shake It Up,” “All This and Heaven Too,” “No Light, No Light,”

For Fans Of: Adele, Mazzy Star, Lissie, U2

— James O’Hara


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