So in case anyone was unaware, I really love Laura Marling. I loved her first album, I loved her second album, and I also love this album. I think she speaks to women in a way that no one else does at the moment, I sort of see her as a Joni Mitchell of our time. A songwriter and singer which has an incredible amount of influence on certain people’s lives, someone a lot of us won’t forget for years to come.
This album shows a further growth in maturity in Laura’s voice and songwriting and also in the arrangements. Opening track ‘The Muse’ could almost have been taken from Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark, with its jazz sensibilities. ‘I Was Just A Card’ begins gently with the line ‘I was just a card/caught up in the stars/looking down from Mars’ before the cello and drum line kicks in and the track continues to develop with the addition of brass instruments. Don’t Ask Me Why tells tales of loneliness and the narration in Salinas opens like a Bob Dylan track.
The Beast is something none of us were expecting, a broading track at almost 6 minutes with heavy instrumentation towards the end, making for the first time, Laura’s voice not the primary thing you hear. Night After Night is the only solo track on the record, just Laura and her guitar, which is honesty where I like her music best. Sophia, the first single from the record is a highlight with its repeating ‘I’m wounded by dust’ line. Final track ‘All My Rage’ is more bustly and more confident than anything ever produced from Ms Marling before. Her voice is louder and more shrill, and the country-like instrumentation heavier.
Throughout her voice is rich, and the songwriting full of emotion, unanswered questions and wisdom beyond her years. This album has been the highlight of a brilliant year for Laura where she won a Brit, and arguably entered the mainstream. But she manages to do it while keeping her integrity as an artist intact. At only 21 years old, she will undoubtably continue to flourish and will continue to make greater and greater albums.
Standout Tracks: Sophia, Night after Night, The Muse.