Florence Welch is one of those force-to-be-reckoned-with–type singers. Armed with a deep, clear, and commanding voice, not to mention a freakish ability to sustain a note, Welch is a textbook powerhouse, and Ceremonials finds her in her sonic element. Where 2009’s Lungs provided a lush introduction, Ceremonials benefits from the kind of huge, sweeping orchestras and major-label production values that pair best with Welch’s delivery styles. Musically, the album jumps from gospel anthems (“Lover to Lover”) to atmospheric balladry (“Seven Devils”), and pulls cohesion from a lot of heavy-handed, bass-drum–heavy percussion and violin and cello runs. Most importantly, though, it provides a context in which Welch can sing her heart out and sound at home. Big voices need big drama, and Ceremonials has plenty of both. Florence and the Machine plays the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday, April 14. Call 962-7411 or visit sbbowl.com.


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