Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials

Ceremonials by Florence & The Machine is the follow-up to her first album Lungs, and The mood of Florence Welch’s second album is set by the cover, on which she appears to be posing for a pre-Raphaelite artist.The mood of the disc inside, too, is also decidedly pre-Raphaelite: a gothic fever dream of romance, striving for intensity. Ceremonials always sounds wonderful – producer Paul Epworth has created a warm, sumptuous sound which is complimented by Welch’s powerful and emotive voice.

 This contrasts with Florence Welch’s previous album Lungs, which was written in the wake of a failed relationship, and reached number 1 in the album chart helped by some great singles like “Dog Days Are Over”, the lovesick anthem “Drumming Song” and the Candi Staton cover, “You’ve Got the Love”.  The album also helped Welch gain a diverse roster of fans including fashion designer Karl Lagerfield.

Florence herself is an exuberant person Lively, engaged, and good-humoured, too, and was signed up by Island Records  in November 2008. By the beginning of 2009, she’d won a Brit award,  for being the new year’s most promising artist.  Her first album Lungs, was subsequently released in July, and went on to sell more than 3 million copies. ( and I’ve got one of them)

But Whereas The last album sounded heady, wounded, raw and almost desperate at times. the second album is definitely more settled. Florence recently said of her second album That “It feels more joyous, but I wouldn’t say happily-ever-after. It’s not completely a case of ‘Everything’s fine, now!’ because everything’s still… Even if you’re in a relationship things are complicated. There’s probably lots of things to deal with.” this more settled sound is due in part to her being back with her chap. the villain of Lungs, with whom ahe patched things up not long after that album was released.

Florence said of her sound that she had experimented with many different types of music such as country and had also written and recorded some folky songs, but it wasn’t until she went into the studio that she knew she’d hit on a distinctive sound she loved which she describes as “big, tribal goth pop”.Welch she also says I’m more satisfied with this album than the last, “But I’m still nervous about it. You’re never completely happy, otherwise you wouldn’t ever make the next one.  This almost sounds like she’s anticipating retiring, Embracing the growing-up plan and settling down.  But Florence loves singing and  wouldn’t want to give it up and  hopes she  would be able to fit the rest of her life in at some point.” 

She also said Recently that she would love to appear on family science-fiction drama “Doctor Who”, after having really got into the programme  and become a “total geek” for the show since Matt Smith took over the role of The Doctor.  I reckon that  given the gothic feel to some of her promo videos  she could add a really gothic, spooky and creepy  atmosphere to the program which would be perfect and would soon have people hiding behind the sofa.

Having heard bits from the album, I think that  the best tracks  on the album are an introspective ballad called “Lover to Lover”, The single “What the Water Gave me”, an upbeat track called “Shake it out”, Only if for a night, No Light No Light, Heartlines, Spectrum and Never let Me Go. Here is the full track-listing

  • If only for a night
  •  Shake it out
  • What the Water Gave Me
  • Never let me go
  • Breaking down
  • Lover to lover
  • No Light, no light
  • Seven Devils
  • Heartlines
  • Spectrum
  • All this and heaven too
  • Leave my body

Hallowe’en

Halloween (or Hallowe’en), is a contraction of All-Hallows-Even (“evening”), and is an annual holiday observed on October 31, which commonly includes activities such as trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving jack-o’-lanterns, bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.

It is thought that Halloween, has it’s origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, but is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)”, derived from the Old Irish Samuin meaning “summer’s end”. Samhain was the first and by far the most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish calendar and, usually  fell on the last day of Autumn.

It was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead. There was also a sense that this was the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things could happen. So To ward off these spirits, the Irish built huge, symbolically regenerative bonfires and invoked the help of the gods through animal and perhaps even human sacrifice.

 

Halloween is also thought to have been heavily influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints’ Day (also known as Hallowmas, All Hallows, Hallowtide) and All Souls’ Day. Falling on November 1st and 2nd respectively, collectively these days were a time for honoring the Saints and praying for the recently departed who had yet to reach heaven.  By the end of the 12th century they had become days of holy obligation across Europe and involved such traditions as ringing bells for the souls in purgatory and “souling”, the custom of baking bread or soul cakes for “all christened souls”.
 
In Britain the rituals of Hallowtide and Halloween came under attack during the Reformation as protestants denounced purgatory as a “popish” doctrine incompatible with the notion of predestination. In addition the increasing popularity of Guy Fawkes Night from 1605 on saw Halloween become eclipsed in Britain with the notable exception of Scotland. Here, and in Ireland, they had been celebrating Samhain and Halloween since the early Middle Ages and it is believed the church took a more pragmatic approach towards Halloween, viewing it as important to the life cycle and rites of passage of local communities and thus ensuring its survival in the country.
 
North American almanacs of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century give no indication that Halloween was recognized as a holiday. The Puritans of New England, for example, maintained strong opposition to the holiday[8] and it was not until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration during the 19th century that the holiday was introduced to the continent in earnest. Initially confined to the immigrant communities during the mid-nineteenth century, it was gradually assimilated into mainstream society and by the first decade of the twentieth century it was being celebrated coast to coast by people of all social, racial and religious backgrounds.

The word Halloween first appears in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even (“evening”), that is, the night before All Hallows Day. Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English (ealra halgena mæssedæg, mass-day of all saints),  however All-Hallows-Even is itself is not used until 1556.