51gWQbC1kVL._SX386_BO1,204,203,200_
Laura Marling iTunes Tracks Laura Marling Official Website

Laura Marling

With maturity and soul beyond her tender years, Hampshire born and bred MARLING (1st February 1990 in Eversley) is part of a wave of young British artists who embraced their English folk roots but crossed over to enjoy mainstream audiences. Her simple but playful style, evokes as much the spirit of BILLY BRAGG as it does JONI MITCHELL or NORMA WATERSON.
MARLING was just sixteen when her first few fizzing tunes posted on MySpace caught the attention of the listening public and she initially cut her live teeth as part of a supposed new west London folk movement (although she lived in Reading) roughing it with the likes of Jamie T, MUMFORD & SONS and as part of NOAH AND THE WHALE. She drifted from the latter act as her music took centre stage and her relationship with frontman Charlie Fink went sour; the man’s finest hour, `The First Days Of Spring’, was said to be written in response to the couple’s break up.
MARLING’s brittle but heartfelt debut album ALAS I CANNOT SWIM {*7} arrived in 2008 to considerable acclaim, receiving a deserving Mercury Music Prize Award nomination (she was er… Elbow’d out) owing much to tracks such as the BEIRUT-esque `Crawled Out Of The Sea’, lead singles `Ghosts’ and `My Manic & I’.
In late 2009, she teamed up with producer Ethan Johns – the son of Glyn, nephew of Andy Johns – to expand her barebones style with a collection of crisp, bright and thoughtfully arranged songs for I SPEAK BECAUSE I CAN (2010) {*8}. Marcus Mumford showed up to lend some backing vocals, but at the heart here was a set of songs rich with narratives about everything from celebrations of her relationship with her father – `Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)’ – to a woman’s letters to her husband during World War II (`What He Wrote’). Once again she received a Mercury nomination, but lose out to The XX this time around.
2011 saw more plaudits – Best Solo Artist at the NME Awards and beating Girls Aloud’s Cheryl Cole to Best British Female Artist at the Brit Awards – but the hyperbole was justified. Laura came out of the traps full formed, with a deep understanding of songcraft, indeed the odds are her best was yet to come. This was proved prophetic when her third in as many years, A CREATURE I DON’T KNOW (2011) {*7} raced into the Top 5. Reminiscent of JONI MITCHELL (a la LEONARD COHEN mood), the lush arrangements upon her codeine vox shined through on least three gemstones, `The Beast’, `Sophia’ and opener `The Muse’.
Building on her reputation as the English equivalent of Joni (a la Laurel Canyon era), MARLING seemed at ease “Pentangling” and “Meddle-ing” (PINK FLOYD c.1971) on her “Led Zeppelin III”-esque fourth set, ONCE I WAS AN EAGLE (2013) {*8}. Transporting her Sunday breakfast brigade back to the early 70s when the West Coast woke up to a singer-songwriter frenzy, L.A. import Laura has finally won over an American audience with this Top 50 entrée (Top 3 in Blighty). Over an hour long and cathartic as ever, the quasi-concept set has several cuts that’ll send her fans (old and new) into a quiver. From the sombre `Take The Night Off’ and the mystical title track, to the riveting `Breathe’ and `Master Hunter’, the intimate record was of two halves. Of the second portion, she weaved her magic on the searching, `Undine’, `Where Can I Go?’, `Pray For Me’ and the delicious `When Were You Happy? (And How Long Has That Been)’. Timeless compositions.
Stated as transitional and stemming from her long isolative months in Los Angeles, one can almost taste the loneliness in her reflective co-produced fifth set, SHORT MOVIE (2015) {*7}. Adding on occasion, a punk-y Chrissie Hynde-like edge (example the explicit `Don’t Let Me Bring You Down’ and the f-in’ title track), maybe Laura was anticipating forthcoming festival fans relaying their own lines. Anyhow, it was tut-tut for a quality artist to break from folk tradition. While one can’t help mentioning her spiritual links to JONI MITCHELL, SANDY DENNY, NICK DRAKE, Laura aspires to break free from the shackles of her heroines and heroes – but not just yet. Opening salvo `Warrior’, and on to `False Hope’, `How Can I’ and `Worship Me’, these at least will clearly keep the spirit and mystique of Laurel Canyon intact.
© MC Strong 2011/MR-GFD2 // rev-up MCS Aug2012-Mar2015

Share this Project

Leave a Comment