Florence + the Machine – Ceremonials (2011)

The powerhouse’s second studio album, following 2009’s breakthrough debut “Lungs,” is startlingly different than its predecessor. While some of the hard rock that highlighted the band’s first album is still here, it’s also accompanied with a larger-than-life production that makes its title all the more appropriate: With the anthemic “Shake It Out” and the haunting, dense “Only If for a Night,” along with the compelling “No Light No Light,” the band introduced urgency and layered, ambient rock to their overall sonic identity, marking the transition from newcomers to seasoned musicians in just the space of one album. Vocalist Florence Welch’s voice is even more powerful this time around, with the performer managing to sound both intimate and immediately accessible, all making for one hell of an interesting, unique rock album.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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