Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Other than Adele's 21 and Kanye West + Jay-Z's Watch The Throne, I can't think of any album that's been as eagerly anticipated by the 25 and over audience as Florence + The Machine's Ceremonials.  And I can't imagine that anyone is disappointed by it.  My only "problem" with the album is that when I listen to it on my iPod (yes, I listen to full albums on my iPod, it's not all about the mixes) is that when I get to "What The Water Gave Me" I keep hitting repeat.  I'm not a musician, but I feel jealous of the guy playing bass on the track (Mark Saunders, he's not a member of the band).  Actually it sounds like it would be a blast to be doing anything on this song.  Tom Monger, the Machine's harp player is always probably having a great time. The song is like a perfect combination of PJ Harvey's mystique and U2's swinging for the fences. That may not be the most creative way of putting it - I know they have been compared to both artists.

But Florence sings like a feral force of nature.  If Storm from The X-Men was a British singer, I imagine she'd sound something like Florence Welch. I have actually been around Ms. Welch twice (I was one of the camera people on this video, shot just days after their incredible performance on the MTV VMAs) and it is hard to imagine her wanting to headline arenas.  On the other hand, she has a great sense of high drama that plays so well to the bleachers. And, like Adele, she may not have a choice: Florence + The Machine may get so popular off of this album, they may have to start hitting the bigger venues.

I can't think of many singers since Annie Lennox who have been able to mix "art rock" (for lack of a better term) with soul music.  Florence was great when she sang as a part of a tribute to Aretha Franklin at the Grammys last year, and on songs like "Lover, Lover" and "No Light, No Light" show that she is as soulful as anyone.

Other than U2 and PJ Harvey, the other artist who the band (and it *is* a band) reminds me of is Arcade Fire. I don't know of that many bands that swing for the fences and raise the roof, with such interesting and not-typical rock arrangements as these two bands.  I happen to think Florence + The Machine write catchier songs though.

I don't spend too much time on No Expiration writing about and recommending really new artists.  Consider this an occasional exception to that.  This is worth your time.  Check Ceremonials out.

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