Monday, March 22

Laura Marling - I Speak Because I Can.

. Monday, March 22

It’s staggering to think that Laura Marling is just twenty years old as her presence on the British music scene has been felt for what seems like an age. From the very early days when an underage Laura couldn’t get into the venues for her own gigs through to her debut album ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ you could be tricked into thinking that this girl was ten years older than her tender age. Starting out young has benefited Marling’s music though. Always an old head on young shoulders, ‘I Speak Because I Can’ cements her position as a love torn oracle for the young generation.

Like many people barely out of their teens Laura Marling’s romantic life informs pretty much everything that she does. Her first album was produced by then boyfriend Charlie Fink of London folk troupe Noah and The Whale whilst on ‘I Speak…’ the musical punches are provided by her new love Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons. It’s best not to delve too deep into tabloid style gossip but anyone who has heard Noah and The Whale’s epic break up album ‘The First Days Of Spring’ must know that Marling has a special effect on her paramours.

If you’re hoping for a musical response to Fink’s open heartbreak you will be left disappointed however. ‘I Speak…’ takes the fragile introspection of ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ and wraps it up in warm clothes and places it in front of a roaring log fire. This is a record noticeably rural and frost bitten. Gone are the catchy tunes of yore, replaced now by grandiose exercises in atmospherics and yearning. In the most part it works however ‘I Speak…’ feels more like an idea or a concept being projected out by Marling than a collection of individual songs that tell specific stories. Songs such as ‘Rambling Man’ and ‘Darkness Descends’ are painted with much broader brush strokes, losing the deft touches of the older songs like ‘Ghosts’ but packing far more emotional weight than ever before.

‘Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)’ acts a good bridge between Marling’s older material and her new guise. Aided by sweeping strings and a carefully placed piano the narrative unfolds beautifully with lines like “I’m clearing all the crap out of my room, trying to uncover what it is that makes me blue” piercing the conscious. From here though the listener is not really let into this young writers world half as much as we’d like to be. It feels where once doors were held open and diary pages left unlocked now there is more privacy and cryptic lines to decode from a girl who once sang about her own mania and lovelorn adventures. Perhaps the frosty covering Marling is desperate to leave in England has taken residence on her pen too.

The overall feeling you get with ‘I Speak Because I Can’ however is that it is part of what will surely become a much lauded and highly creative career. It lacks the insistency of its predecessor but shows incredible progression and huge strides towards a bright future. With another album due in just a few months you suspect that we’ll be hearing this beautiful voice for a very long time to come.


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