Take a spin in her machine
BIGGER that’s the theme of Florence Welch’s second album.
Everything she did so well on her acclaimed debut she has delivered again and then some. This new set of tunes has been pumped full of baroque pop steroids and cranked up to 11.
Ceremonials is grand in sound and artistic scale. It’s so dizzying that most of Welch’s contemporaries should fear it.
Fresh waves of tribal drumming give the album an organic pulse while otherworldly orchestra flourishes propel the songs into the stratosphere.
As always, it is her unique, heartmelting voice that hits the home runs.
She spins wide and wild tales; brassy, soulful and romantic. The Welch brew is a delicious kind of musical voodoo.
The truly lavish and splendid thing about this album is the fact almost every song has a special ‘‘ moment’’ that may leave listeners awestruck.
Good modern albums tend to have a few songs that push tingling sensations down spines, but not every second sumptuous song.
The album jumps off with the high drama balladry of Only If For A Night.
Her first lyric: ‘‘ And I had a dream about my old school . . .’’
She picks up where the last album left off and expects the listener will be keeping up.
This song recalls vintage Tori Amos in the best possible fashion.
Then there is the powerful, thunderous, theatrical and rollicking What The Water Gave Me; a contender for album favourite.
Her restrained refrain in the verses, explosion into the chorus, the spookiness of the slide guitar and the pitter patter of plucked melodies. Love it.
No Light, No Light is another cracking tune that starts quietly with a filtered rhythmic loop, then drops into an angelic melody, adds a dash of harp and then, after all the prep work is done, she finally pounces!
It’s not tricky songwriting necessarily, just perfectly executed. Welch worked with Paul Epworth at Abbey Road on two- thirds of the album’s songs.
Don’t know Epworth by name? He’s written and recorded chart- topping, award- winning music with everyone from Bloc Party to Kate Nash. He also co- wrote and produced Adele’s world conquering Rolling In The Deep. He’s got the midas touch.
Not surprisingly, they are a great duo. His impeccable studio skills, her natural, effortless vocal abilities and earthy style. It’s simply heavenly.
Welch has a black belt in drama and Ceremonials is her grandiose take on indie pop music. She sucks listeners into her vortex. Relentlessly impressive.