Monday 28 Jul

Planting the seed

Chelsey Cope’s new band, Elms, is as earthy and native to Oklahoma as the trees that are their namesake. The soulful folk four-piece’s debut EP, Parallel Lines, was recorded at Bell Labs Recording Studio in Norman and is on its way in September. But the band has already given us a tease, with its first single, “Burn,” going live on SoundCloud on July 14.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Commercial rock

Center of the Universe Festival featuring Capital Cities, Young The Giant, AWOLNATION & more
Downtown Tulsa 

07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Mack truckin’

9 p.m. Friday 
Kamp’s Lounge 
1310 NW 25th St. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Chevy cruisin’

Chevy Woods with Kevin Gates & more
9 p.m. Sunday 
Vibe Night Club 
227 SW 25th St. 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0

Rock steady

7 p.m. Saturday
Frontier City
11501 N. Interstate 35 Service Road
Free with park admission 

07/16/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Reviews · Pop · Florence + The Machine —...

Florence + The Machine — Ceremonials

No sophomore slump for this soulful siren.

Jenn Scott November 15th, 2011

Pre-2008, only a few knew of Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine. After the release of “Kiss with a Fist” in June that year, followed by “Dog Days Are Over” that December, few could contain themselves awaiting the release of her first album, “Lungs.”

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The English singer was met with enthusiasm and insta-fame for her ethereal, enormous voice and playfully edgy lyrics in that 2009 release.

Quickly, she nabbed nominations and awards, and since then, the world has waited with baited breath for her return, for this machine with which everyone fell in love with. Would she fall flat? Did she use up all of that quirky tone and hard-hitting emotionality present in “Lungs”?

No. In fact, if anything, she's lived up to her bold rep in the new “Ceremonials.”

Aptly titled, this album is her love letter to pain and suffering. She establishes the church of music, rooted in its creator, nature. She boldly wrestles with the perplexity that is higher power, all the while delicately maintaining a human connection and bridging the ever-pressing, soul-searching questions that plague us all, that connect us all.

From the start, particularly “Shake It Out,” she quickly establishes what's on her mind: “Regrets collect like old friends / Here to relive your darkest moments / And all of the ghouls come out to play / And every demon wants his pound of flesh / It's always darkest before the dawn.”

If you can't relate to that, then you're not human. And if you aren't human, you should get to know Welch and her music. You might learn something.

She claims to “like to keep things to myself,” yet she's pretty damn clear about struggling and the inability “to dance with a devil on your back.”

After she reveals her struggles and desire to overcome, she descends into the exploration of “What the Water Gave Me.” It's a breakdown, and her armor is clearly cathedral-style orchestral music and harps, as well as emotional words of affirmation.

Her sentimental commitment in “Never Let Me Go” is hauntingly beautiful. She begins to explore her newfound belief structure: “In the arms of the ocean, so sweet and so cold / And all this devotion I never knew at all / And the crashes of heaven, for a sinner released / In the arms of the ocean ... never let me go / Well, the arms of the ocean delivered me.”

Welch's sophomore album continues to weave through the ups and downs indicative to any growing relationship in “Breaking Down,” “All This and Heaven Too” and “Strangeness and Charm.”

Rounding out the disc’s deluxe edition is “Bedroom Hymns,” where she delves into the business of altars, confessions and selfish prayers — the kind of thing one might have late at night in the privacy of their own safe haven. She admits she's not “looking for absolution,” and she “can't get enough” of the attempts at personal gain via her newfound strength.

The undeniable romantic entanglement with life and religion culminate in a predictable and relatable ebb and flow.

Ultimately, however, she proclaims: “It's over, and I'm going under / But I'm not giving up, I'm just giving in.”

Although some already have dubbed “Ceremonials” as turbulent, I argue that it mirrors life, and I look forward to Florence + the Machine's next release, as she explores her faith by way of music and establishes a deeper connection with all who relate. —Jenn Scott
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