Florence and the Machine are back and on the promotional trail with second album Ceremonials. Their first port of call was with Jools Holland on his Later With music program, where Florence and her musical Machine delivered an accomplished and tight set.
Rocking a more serious and sophisticated Art-Deco look than Lung's hippy, avant-garde getup, the flame haired singer radiated a ghostly confidence with her measured renditions of new songs No Light No Light, What The Water Gave Me and Breaking Down.
Watch the performance's and read my thoughts on them below.
No Light No light: The starkly backed intro put Florence's voice firmly in centre stage, allowing the beauty of her smoky toned mid-range to be appreciated unadulterated. This was quickly contrasted by the steely tone of her chest voice as the heavy instrumentation kicked in. Lots of head notes present in the performance and look out for the held note at 2.36. Spine tingling.
What The Water Gave Me: Another controlled and reserved performance of the album's first release. Florence forgets herself briefly just after the song's middle eight and begins to revert to wailing, but noticeably catches herself, reigning back the vocal to that of the album version. Listen out for stunning Eb5 at the end of the song.
Breaking Down: Possibly my least favourite song on the new album due to not liking the motif- heard at its start- that the whole song is built around. The vocals here were solid and in keeping with the album version but its not a song that contains many vocal flourishes or highlights, so I guess I'll just comment at how exceptional the band were. Amazing group of musicians.
These performances make me more and more desperate to catch Florence And The Machine live when they next go on tour. Here's hoping I can get tickets, no doubt they'll be Über popular!
X-Factor: Taking the theatrics up a notch on the X-Factor this Sunday, Florence embraced its penchant for over the top and unnecessary staging when she performed Shake it out . The flowing, ghostly dress set the Gothic tone perfectly, but as soon as the lights went on and a choir and full band were seen to be playing along, despite it obviously being a backing track, I kind of lost heart in the performance. The vocals were strong and the belted part at 2.32 was impressive, but overall I'm just a smidgen disappointed that she agreed to go on the X-Factor in the first place. Even worse, was that the veneer of musicality that the show promotes was seemingly embraced by the band by them miming to the track just for the spectacle of it, when they were more than capable of blowing that stage apart with their talent. I'm guessing it just wasn't practical to have the band sound checked and plugged in to play live, what with the speed that show progresses at, but if this was the case Florence should have given The Machine a night off and carried the performance alone with her stoic vocals.
Hopefully at the least, Florence and the Machines' stint on the X-Factor will help sales and public interest in them rise again, because Ceremonials is a brilliant album that deserves as much success as the first album enjoyed.