Laura Marling – Semper Femina Review 

Semper Femina has two meanings: originally, on Roman poet Virgil’s account, it means “woman is always fickle and changeable.” Or, it could translate to the meaning addressed through Laura Marling’s tattoo – “always woman.” This is the route followed in her sixth album under this title; an album using female perspective as its focal point, unstitching conversations of friendships and relationships, and illuming the world of a twenty-first-century woman.

The album’s opening track is Soothing. Not only does this name embody the feel of this whole album, as each quiet song seamlessly lapses into the next, it is also the most instrumentally sound track. Its majestic instrumentalism serves to emphasise the delicate folky tones of Marling’s vocals. Having said that, the track mostly surrounds such instrumentalism, the deep bass driving graceful synths. It’s an interesting addition, especially as it precedes a track that nods towards fine, Ben Howard-esque instrumental support. This song is The Valley, one simple in its guitar picks but strong in its lyrics. It underpins psychological understanding; Laura knows “what she’s [her friend] mourning…can’t be spoke”, dealing eloquently with feelings and friendship, highlighting the resilient feminine message the album aims to put across. The song blossoms with orchestra and the acoustic is given extra verve later in the track. It’s beautifully layered and wise, and a huge asset to the tracklist. The same togetherness is adopted in the following earthy number Wild Fire, and also in Wild Once later on, while tracks like Don’t Pass Me By, Always This Way and Nothing, Not Nearly enclose lyrics to a more self-reflective effect. Nothing, Not Nearly explores love in a great way, stating “nothing matters more than love”. This, alongside the previous Nouel’s homemade authenticity, gives a strength and security that concludes the whole album brilliantly. Though the tender guitars can get too repetitive, the fantastic morale of this album cannot be ignored.

You can tell Laura Marling put her heart and soul into this album. It’s both sturdy and vulnerable, intimate and relevant to so many listeners. It’s an incredible statement.

Laura Marling – Semper Femina: 8/10

Eleanor Chivers

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