Album: Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials (Island )

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The Independent Culture

For her follow-up to Lungs, Florence Welch wanted to make something "dramatic and really huge and kind of spooky", an intention which Ceremonials bears out with storm-cloud arrangements, big, rolling drum riffs and ghost-story songs.

But in cementing one style, some of the possibilities offered by Lungs have been choked off. The only time she and The Machine stray from the formula is the Krautrock-disco motorik of "Spectrum"; elsewhere, declamatory piano chords and burring organ underpin the banked, soaring vocals that are her trademark, in the tribal pow-wow of "What The Water Gave Me" and the relentless build-up of "Lover To Lover". It's all impressive, though "Seven Devils", with Halloween-esque keyboard, overdoes the corny horror melodrama terribly.

DOWNLOAD THIS: What The Water Gave Me; Shake It Out; Lover To Lover; Heartline