Florence + the Machine deliver one baroque-pop anthem after another on Ceremonials. Featuring majestic, theatrical arrangements centered on Florence Welch’s remarkable vocals, this is a bolder and more dramatic offering than their debut, Lungs. Booming percussion, strings, echoing keyboards, and big guitars create a towering platform of sound from which Welch emotes with a fury. Her powerful voice erupts amid a gospel choir on “Shake It Out,” “What the Water Gave Me,” and “Leave My Body,” while tribal drums fuel “No Light, No Light” and “Heartlines.” Even the relatively subdued “Lover to Lover” builds to a spine-tingling crescendo. A distinctly British blend of Celtic, goth, and neo-soul influences, Ceremonials is a thickly layered and orchestral production that practically demands a visceral response from the listener. Fans will be blown away.
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