Laura Marling: A Creature I Don’t Know

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Dear Laura,

you’re having the honor of this very first post. Yes, this is might be letter of admiration. (Hardly a secret anymore, though.)

I am inhaling every tune and verse of her recently released third album A Creature I Don’t Know – quite an output considering your debut album Alas, I Cannot Swim only dropped four years ago. Yet I’m amazed how a 21 year old can not only write unique tunes but is capable of telling stories most grandmothers would envy to have in their repertoire.

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So what’s new?

What has always enchanted me most is her mature voice, combined with her pragmatic view on love and life. “I know how you feel, I know it’s not right, but it’s real” as she sings in her latest single Sophia, is expressing this as much as her older lyrics: “Lover please, do not fall to your knees, it’s not like I believe in everlasting love” in one if her first songs, Ghost.

Hardly having much of a presence onstage, Laura Beatrice Marling has now grown into her role of a live singer, showing much more confidence than four years ago. There, her guitar had seemed like the companion she desperately needed to keep herself above ground. As she stated in an interview with The Guardian, this grown assertiveness is also reflected in the making of her latest LP where she is finally taking charge of her own production: “Well, I’ve got the confidence now, and I know what I want it to sound like, so before anybody else gets their grubby mitts on it, why don’t I put my stamp on it?”

Her distinctive metaphors and allusions to nature and death prevail, but Laura now shows much more strength and security in showing these darker sides. Her charismatic words may reflect this just as much as the way she sings them. The powerful contrast of her upper and lower voice, which can switch in a single line, is now carried with the appropriate confidence, making A Creature I Don’t Know a mature piece of art.

Selectives

The epic 6-minute-song The Beast, a “balancing act between wanting and needing” as she said herself, might be the most energetic of her new songs – leaving me breathless listening to it for the first time. Another, melodious and simplistic, yet again dark song, is Night After Night. A classic folkish one certainly is All My Rage, building up from a strong solo to a rattling orchestral ensemble. As Laura is telling a story throughout her album, the songs certainly appreciate not being isolated from each other, though.

Accompanied by strong tunes from pianos, cellos, tubas and even choirs, but much less banjo, Laura’s album is moving a bit more towards rock and away from her older classic folk songs, which have been much influenced by her fellow artists Noah & The Whale and Mumford & Sons. Now she is very much able to stand for herself, already selling out her concerts within days. In perspective, Laura Marling’s development as a singer and songwriter is astonishing, leaving me anxious for her future releases.

Yours truely ;)

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