Saturday, 28 July 2012

Florence & The Machine - Ceremonials

So, it took me many attempts on how to write this. I realised that I wasn't being myself and I was trying to be all big & fancy with words, so now I'm just saying it how it is. For me, Ceremonials has had such a huge impact on my life personally, to which comes the reason for me reviewing it as such.

Each song has it's own individual message and/or theme to every single person out there. Maybe one person recalls past trauma, or heartache, or...I don't know..something deeply personal anyway whilst another could recall a memory of joy, happiness and comfortness. Not every person is the same, so every song has a variety of meanings and interpretations. In my eyes, this is why Ceremonials has strength, Welch herself has stated that the album is far more personal than her 2008 debut 'Lungs'. For example; when I first listened to 'What The Water Gave Me' I wasn't impressed. But as time grew...I don't know...I began to feel the song. I felt the waves across my body, heard the crashes of the sea in my ears, water trickling beneath my feet. This is the sheer beauty of Welch's vocals and her fabulous Machine, packed with harps, drums, pianos galore. Also; going back to the personal took me back to a place that was very dark in my life...I could literally recall it scene for scene...and if that's what one song's power could do? Boy, I knew the album was going to be unstoppable.

And so 'Ceremonials' was released. Did it live up to my expectations? Was I impressed? Short answer; yes. I was blown away by the sheer epic nature of the album, it's lyrics, production, I could go on. 'Only if for A Night's opening piano cords still to this day send a shiver down my spine, as does 'Shake it Out's organ procession and please, let's not forget the unforgettable 15 second elongated note in 'No Light No Light'. A particular friend of mine said and I quote
"It's amazing how one 15 second note is better than any Rihanna album."

 Clearly, this could be taken any way, and some people got angry with this. True, my friend could have worded it better, but I understood his point. His point was that one elongated note shows how powerful a vocalist Florence Welch is, and that she does not have to rely on gimmicks such as huge stage presence, pyrotechnics, auto-tune etc to show her stance as an artist in the music industry. And, to be honest, that's what 'Ceremonials' does best. It doesn't let the production mask it's true beauty and power of a record. Yes okay, sometimes it does go on a little, an example being 'Seven Devils'. A corker of a song, with it's haunting howls and chilling production but at 5 minutes does get a tad tedious. But aside from that tiny flaw, I can't stress the beauty of the record. 'Never Let Me Go' to this day brings tears to my eyes, not for the fact it's the only ballad Welch has ever produced (a heart-wretchedly good one at that) but to me, it has so much personal meaning behind it. I'll blog more about it after I get my tattoo next week but for now all I'll say is that it regards my first love. They promised never to let me go...and what do you think happened? But...I'll leave that story for another time. Going back to the personal meanings, again Welch has succeeded, recalling me to think back to my first love and envision it scene-by-scene. Never has an album had that effect on me, and to be honest, I don't think another album will. Now, onto some more individual track reviews.  I guarantee if you listen to 'Spectrum' your arms will be in the air and your dancing around the room as if you could be high on drugs. But, again that's the beauty of it all, no-one cares, because all Florence fans could unite tomorrow and dance around like lunatics but no-one cares because they're all celebratory in their love for Florence. NOT that I'm encouraging drugs. Drugs are bad m'kay.

Lover to Lover (Official Music Video)

'Lover To Lover' has a gospel/blues influence behind it's optimistic tune and on first listen, I felt like I was ready to take on the day in it's full. I nothing could phase me or get me down. Which is an irony within itself as most of Welch's songs speak of a dreary pessimistic topic (death, drowning, depression) but to a cherry, uplifting production (notable example being 'Breaking Down'). This I could laugh at...and it helped me get through my exams by a long shot. So, for that I will be grateful. By the time 'All This & Heaven To' is reached, I pictured myself at the top of a hill, or in America on top of The Golden Gate bridge, singing at the top of my lungs. Because I was happy, uplifted and saw life in a new lease. Briefly, speaking of the bonus tracks, learn the clap-a-long to 'Strangness & Charm' & 'Bedroom Hymns'. It will be the best thing you ever do and accomplish. Furthermore, listen to 'Remain Nameless' with the highest bass setting possible. You'll feel like a DJ and feel the best feeling there is out there. You're welcome!

So, in a nutshell, 'Ceremonials' is an album with spirit. If you ever have a bad day at work, if your heart is broken or even if you just need time out, 'Ceremonials' is the best remedy out there. Some people have diaries to vent their emotion; I have 'Ceremonials'.

Kieran x

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Cyprus 2012!

So, this is officially my first blog and this is my first post! How exciting! I did intend on starting up a week ago, but a day before going away maybe wasn't the best idea. Anyway, I thought it would be nice if I shared my experience in gorgeous Cyprus!

The flight was relatively early, at around 9.00 AM, meaning we (in this case we meaning both me and my twin sister, I'll be blogging about her) were up at 6.30AM to catch a lift to the airport. Now, I'm not sure about you, but I'm not the best person in the mornings but surprisingly I managed it okay! I went into that airport thinking, "It's your holiday, cut off from home and have the best time" which is why I literally never used my phone whilst there, as I have all the time in the world at home to social network and communicate. Moving swiftly on, we boarded the plane and began our journey. At 4 hours, the flight was bearable and I had my loyal kindle & iPod by my side to keep me company, I got plenty of reading done to which I was very proud of myself! (yes, most of them were books aimed for children but I enjoyed them).

Now, to the main body of the holiday. The heat was unbearable to start with so lesson Number 1) Never wear skinny jeans on a flight to a hot country. It was dire! But obviously, as the week went on, I grew more accustomed to the heat and grew comfortable in wearing vests and shorts. Lesson Number 2) Never trust the Maid. We all nicknamed her Consuela ( and I swear she stole a pair of shorts from my case. I'm still yet to sue the Hotel, but it's going to happen! Another point about the Hotel, it was certainly not 4 star. It was dirty, the doors wouldn't lock and the shower rail was broken. The rating must have been the Hotel a few kilometres away from us see photo above. We had to move rooms 3 times due to a larger family needing our room, but in exchange we were given an all inclusive voucher. Now, this saved us a lot of money and therefore meant we could have a few drinks before heading out!

I'm sure everyone thinks Ayia Napa is amazing and has the best nightlife, but honestly, I was not impressed. Everything was over hyped and so so expensive. We even got scammed into buying one drink (which cost me 8 euro! Theft!) and got various amounts of shots & fishbowls. Little did the waitress tell us that these 'shots' were pretty much watered down orange juice. I was not a happy bunny and vowed never to come back! That was until the beach festival. We all payed 50 euros for one ticket to see Chase & Status, Wretch 32, Miss Dynamite, Wiley and other acts perform at Kandi Beach in Napa. Now, I hate this type of music and immediately didn't want to go, but everyone else was going and I actually thought I could enjoy myself. Now...the beach was nice! Absolutely gorgeous and from a photography point of view I was in heaven! But, I loathed the music. Don't get me wrong I'm all ears for anything when it comes to music, but when it's grimey've lost me. To the point where me and best friend were singing Mumford & Sons at the top of our lungs! Oh how we laughed, surrounded by desperate girls and men who loved themselves a little too much *Cough* Joey Essex type *Cough* but at least we had a laugh.