In the 19th century, society had a method for sweeping women whose behaviour was deemed strange and unusual under the carpet: they’d be spirited away to places with large lawns and high walls, and left to keep counsel with sprites and faeries on a brainful of laudanum. Thankfully, in the liberal and enlightened 21st century, we now recognise that they’re actually far better suited to being pop stars, an arrangement that’s worked out happily for everyone.Album Review Florence And The Machine Ceremonials

In fact, now that their male counterparts have retreated onto the endangered species list, the onus of providing pop music with the “strange fascination” that Bowie once sang about has fallen more or less squarely on the padded shoulders of the Lady Gagas, Janelle Monáes and Florence Welchs of this world. Like those artists, Florence is possessed of her own idiosyncracies and odd preoccupations (sometimes self-consciously so: she recently told one interviewer that her favourite pastime was “dancing down supermarket aisles”), but she’s no fool. For evidence of that, you only need to listen to ‘Ceremonials’ and consider the album she could have made.

 

When asked by her label if she fancied following the massive success of her 2009 debut by recording its follow-up in the States with a phalanx of exorbitantly priced R&B producers, Welch toyed with the notion, but ultimately had the good sense to decide, “No. No. No. No! I can’t do that. I can’t just suddenly leave behind everything that made ‘Lungs’.” The record she has made is really more of a refinement of ‘Lungs’’ sound and spirit than any sort of departure. Indeed, you could argue ‘Ceremonials’ is actually quite a cautious album. It’s also a very good one.

Album Info

  • Release Date: October 31, 2011
  • Producer: Paul Epworth
  • Label: Luv Luv Luv/Island
  • Fact: Producer Paul Epworth has also worked with Adele, Cee Lo Green, Plan B, Friendly Fires, Bloc Party, Primal Scream, The Rapture, Jack Peñate, Kate Nash and Maxïmo Park.