‘Ceremonials’ Florence + the Machine

‘CEREMONIALS’ is the title of Florence + the Machine’s eagerly awaited second release. It comes two years and six singles after their remarkably successful first album ‘Lungs,’ and has created understandably high expectations for their follow-up offering, but the question on everyone’s lips is ‘was it worth the wait?’

In short; yes. It’s still got the unearthly, ethereal quality that made its predecessor so critically and commercially acclaimed, while still showcasing a very different and more mature sound. The similarities to ‘Lungs’ don’t end in musical style. The lyrics still focus on the very personal and the downright bizarre. Sometimes though, Florence’s songwriting is in danger of teetering over the edge and becoming almost too strange. In the track ‘Heartlines’, she tells us to ‘just keep following the heart lines in your head’, whatever those might be!

However, the Virginia Woolf inspired ‘What the Water Gave Me’ just about makes up for these lyrical shortcomings, with its poetic tribute to overwhelming emotions and drowning in the ‘overflow’. Not the cheeriest of topics but it’s just what you would expect from a Florence + the Machine track. Like ‘Lungs’, there are more upbeat tracks here; ‘Shake It Out’ is one of the highlights of the album.

Unfortunately, the song quality lessens as you go through the album. Though the first five tracks are amazing, by the ninth track, it all starts to get a bit repetitive. Things look up with the brash, catchy and infectious ‘Spectrum’ but it’s downhill from there. The last two tracks sound suspiciously like filler, which is a disappointment when you consider the hype and expectation surrounding the album.

‘Ceremonials’ is a thoroughly impressive second offering and seems the natural successor to ‘Lungs’. Though sadly, it’s not different enough to live up to all its potential. Maybe they should have waited longer to complete a few more decent tracks and make ‘Ceremonials’ the truly incredible album that it deserved to be.