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December 16, 2011 / jhsaeger

TopAlbum Countdown Continues
    Long After Dark is counting down the top ten albums of the year each Friday in December, check out Albums 10, 9,8 and 7 from past weeks.

6) Ceremonials – The second album from Florence + the Machine can lay claim tothe fact that there is nothing else out there that sounds quite like it.  Inher debut album, Lungs, Florence Welch dabbled in the harp/percussion mix tobecome a late-rising breakout star of 2010.  With Ceremonials, she followed up with a moreepic-sounding record with layers upon layers of percussion while adding the newwrinkle of occasional electronic/synth to the background of the record. Like Lungs, Ceremonials should produce a plethora of singles, having alreadyreleased two and a third single is on the books for January.  
  In terms of grandeur, the best comparison for Florence + the Machinemight come from U2.  Welch likes to use the same emboldened lyrics that Bono haspenned for years, touching a wide range of subject matter that stretches fromlove and heartbreak to Virginia Woolf’s death.  The Machine aren’t merelya backing band that pops up when Welch makes a live performance, either; theyare a powerful group in concert and are instrumental in bringing her complexsound to fruition on Ceremonials.
  It took a few listens before Long After Dark saw Lungs as brilliant and it took many moreto nail down Ceremonials, but this is a group that produces provocative music withan uncommon flair for producing a “Wall of Sound” ala Phil Spector. 

5) Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s high flying birdmight as well have been a phoenix, as he rose from the ashes of Oasis andperformed a bit of a career resurgence.  With High Flying Birds, the British songwritercreated more buzz with his first solo album than any he had cut in a decade. By surrounding himself with high quality session players, Gallagherbreathed new life into his stellar songwriting.  High Flying Birds displayed a wide variance in toneand style, straying from the stale arena rock sound from the last handful ofOasis records.
  If High Flying Birds is an indication of where Noel Gallagher’s career will goto next, the music industry could be in for a lengthy run of creativity. Without the constraints of his brother Liam and the Oasis brand, NoelGallagher enjoyed his newfound artistic freedom and appeared to berejuvenated from not being locked down into the Britpop sound.  A secondsolo record, a collaboration with Amorphous Androgynous, is set for release inthe latter half of 2012, and will likely have more psychedelic overtones.  

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