Florence + The Machine
A lot can happen to a daydreaming girl in the world, and in the last few years, it's all happened for Florence. The debut album she dreamt up in her bedroom in South London burst into being and swept the planet, selling over three million copies, winning the coveted Brits 'Best Album' award and etching itself indelibly into the popular consciousness. Now she has been everywhere: the girl has seen the world and the world has seen the girl. And after months of laying low on home turf, writing and recording in the London she's long been in love with, Florence returns with her triumphant second album. Ceremonials is a stunningly accomplished record by an artist teetering on the wind-blown top of her game, an extraordinary testament to what Florence refers to as "my incorrigible maximalism". The pounding epiphanic positivism of 'Spectrum'; the galloping massed-ranks majesty of 'All This And Heaven Too' and 'Shake It Out'; the triumphant emotional battle cries of 'No Light No Light' and 'Heartlines'. Spend a little time with Ceremonials and what strikes you first and foremost is the apparent confidence of its execution.
"This is the first time I've made a record with a sort of overarching, cohesive sound" says Florence: "It's a proper studio album in that sense: a group of songs that paint a unified picture of where I am in my life right now."
At twenty five, the art-school dropout has done much of her growing up amid the maelstrom of her whirling worldwide success. In 2010 she broke America in spectacular style, her monster hit Dog Days blazing a trail across the nation, taking the charts and the airwaves by storm. She wrote and recorded a heart-stopping track for the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack and performed Dog Days to a rapt and truly global audience at the MTV VMA awards. The viewing figures were almost a billion, and the following day Florence was the most Googled person on the planet.
Since her days of art college and squat parties and gigs in grotty pubs, the life of Florence Welch has gone all the way into the stratosphere. With Ceremonials, Florence is back from outer space and back to what it is she does best, making forward-thinking, unclassifiable, truly overwhelming music. Some artists respond to a successful debut album by reacting against it; attempting to disown the very qualities that drew people to them in the first place. "I couldn't do that if I tried!" says Florence. "Lungs seemed like so many records rolled into one that I wouldn't even know what I'd be reacting against." Instead, Florence Welch has dramatically delivered on the promises of Lungs. "It's a big-sounding album? I guess there's no getting around that. I'm attracted to that sense of being overwhelmed by something. If there's a chance that I might respond that way while these songs are playing around me, then someone else might too. And that's surely the point, isn't it?"