Florence and the Machine lyrics are never very impressive — the first single off Ceremonials, “Shake It Out,” is dripping in cliche — but it has never really mattered because Florence Welch is completely captivating.

Yes, just looking at her is entrancing, what with the blazing red hair and witchy outfits, but it’s her voice that knocks you on your ass. Ceremonials showcases her pipes just as much as Lungs did. The piano and drums are out in full force on this record, too, lending tons of dramatic power.

But there are somewhat lighter moments on Ceremonials as well, or at least, comparatively light. “Breaking Down,” for example, features an airy-sounding string section and Welch takes it easy (again, this is all relative) vocally.

Anyone hoping for another “Kiss With A Fist” will be a bit disappointed. That fierce bite is absent from Ceremonials. But that powerful, vaulting, gothic energy is still there, and it’s as stunning as ever.

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