Review: Florence and the Machine, ‘Ceremonials’

Review: Florence and the Machine, ‘Ceremonials’: Aidin Vaziri | Florence Welch barely pauses for breath after a whirlwind year that saw her band, Florence and the Machine, crack America, score a Grammy nomination and appear on the soundtrack for everything from “Eclipse” to the trailer of “Eat Pray Love.” The group’s second album, “Ceremonials,” arrives just a few weeks after it wrapped up promotional duties for the first, 2009’s singles-spewing “Lungs.” She certainly hasn’t lost any of her fervor. Songs such as “Shake It Out” and “Never Let Me Go” see Welch and company cranking up the tribal drums, orchestral fervor and window-rattling howls to harrowing effect. The moody, minor-key epic “What the Water Gave Me” ranks among the band’s best work, but, at 25, the singer is still finding her way, which explains the odd MGMT-style weirdness that colors “Breaking Down” and a Motown-inspired detour on “Lover to Lover.” Fortunately, it ends on a high note – literally. “Leave My Body” is a battle cry for the bedroom and beyond: “I don’t want your future/ I don’t need your past/ One bright moment is all I ask.” It’s the kind of brave, unwholesome tune that could make Welch a star all over again. That Hawaiian getaway will just have to wait.

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