Florence Welch haunts listeners with “Ceremonials”

Shannon Corcoran

           Florence Welch, lead singer of Florence + the Machine, has one of the most unique sounds in the music industry. Welch truly has it all between her powerful voice and showcasing lyrical content that sounds straight out of a fairy tale.

           After her hit debut album “Lungs” and an unforgettable performance at the 2010 VMAs, many people were left wondering if was possible for her to outdo herself on her sophomore effort. It’s safe to say though, that Welch has not only outdone herself, but she’s also put out a record that could potentially change people’s perceptions of what defines great vocals.

           The band’s newly released second album,“Ceremonials,” starts off perfectly. The opening track “If Only for a Night” is classic Florence with haunting melodies and lyrics that listeners can’t seem to fathom. Relying on the soft instrumental parts to create a background tone, the song showcases Welch’s voice in the most magical ways, reminding fans why they fell in love with her music in the first place.

           Welch superbly continues the invigorating momentum through “Shake It Out” and “What the Water Gave Me.” Like “If Only for a Night,” both tracks are what one would define as more soulful twists of Welch’s previous work. “What The Water Gave Me” is by far the catchiest song on the album and truly maximizes her vocal range. Despite the larger emphasis on the instrumental parts, the melodies on each track are spine-shiver-inducing, and so well-produced it’s hard to believe this is only the band’s second album.

           Unfortunately, the album hits a low point after the first three tracks, as “Never Letting Go” and “Breaking Down” are total messes. There’s something about them that just doesn’t work, maybe it’s their bland melodies or lack of emotion. It’s hard to exactly pinpoint the problem. They are disastrous, and the record would have been much better without them.

          Thankfully, the album regains its tempo with “Lover to Lover.” Songs like “Spectrum” and “Remain Nameless” show listeners just how much Welch has grown as an artist over the past two years. However, the tracks aren’t totally over-the-top. They get their point across flawlessly, and leave listeners with choruses they’ll want to have on replay for months to come. Overall, “Ceremonials” is spectacular; a record nothing short of a work of art that shows a more musically developed Welch at her finest. With tracks that have the potential to resonate in listeners’ hearts indefinitely, the melodies are truly haunting, and it’s certainly a record that will inspire many.