Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Album Review: Laura Marling, I Speak Because I Can, Laura Marling

Laura Marling suffers the scrutiny common to many female artists. An obsession with her personal life, from her hair cut to her love affairs, which can sometimes take precedence over her music. In Marling’s case the situation was exacerbated of course after Charlie Fink bared his soul about their break up on The First Days of Spring. It is disappointing none-the-less for an artist like Marlin, whose contribution to British music should not be underestimated.

Out of all the artists on the anti-folk scene, Marling has probably been the most successful. Her Mercury Music Prize nomination for her debut, Alas I Can Not Swim, brought her music to a wider audience. Certainly on the blogosphere there was much anticipation for her second album, and whether it could match the virtuosity of the first.

Now it is here the general consensus seems to be that there has been a maturity in her sound, which is no doubt helped by the production. Where as Alas I Can Not Swim was produced by Charlie Fink, production for I Speak Because I Can has been handed over Ethan Johns, who has worked with the likes of the Kings of Leon. The sound is fuller and bolder, building to its gut wrenching crescendo in Alpha Shallows. It’s the kind of track that makes you want to cry, although you don’t really know why.

The album is by no means all bells and whistles. Fans of the simpler side of folk should delight in the striped down melancholy of What He Wrote or the Joni Mitchell-esque Rambling Man. From these to the rockabily stylings of Nature of Dust, the album is certainly one of diversity.

With so much of the female new music market dominated by the much debated kooky women brigade, its refreshing to listen to an artist of such sincerity and depth. Where Marling will go from here, and how long she lasts, is anyone’s guess. In my mind she deserves however to became the sound, if not the voice of a generation.

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