By Chuck Arnold
November 21, 2011 12:00 PM

Florence + the Machine

Ceremonials |

ALT-ROCK

The year began with Adele defying the sophomore slump in spectacular fashion. As the year winds down, another soulful British chanteuse-Florence Welch-releases a sublime second album that just may be even better than her first, 2009’s blow-you-away Lungs. (Interestingly, both this and Adele’s 21 feature writing and production by Paul Epworth.) Possessing an almost mystical power, Ceremonials feels like the anointment of a new rock goddess. Indeed, Flo sounds as if she is leading a warrior tribe on tracks like the rousing “Shake It Out,” with its chant-like chorus, while there’s a goth spookiness to cuts like “What the Water Gave Me” that will put a spell on you.

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