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

Single Review – Laura Marling – Wild Fire

Building up to the March release of sixth studio album Semper Femina, Laura Marling shared her second insightful single Wild Fire: a layered tale encompassing surficial notes of relationship expectations with blurred discussions of appearance. Beginning as an earthy stream of consciousness, the track is conversational – almost therapeutic – in the way Marling deciphers the love interest’s issues, adding a comfort that is assisted by a simplistic, warm acoustic backing. Soon, what appears to be assurance for the song’s muse blossoms to become a therapy session for its narrator. Marling sings of the woman writing a book, only having interest in what she writes about “the time spent with me”, dying to know how her character comes across. The lyrics meander between the turbulence the song’s prime subject faces, but also Marling’s own, and, strangely, in this mismatch of issues, a balance is formed. The two sides prop each other up, and the prevailing atmosphere of authentic friendship blooms. This folky exploration of what is typically Laura Marling is heartfelt both lyrically and instrumentally.

Eleanor Chivers

Single Review – Laura Marling – Soothing 

One of the most talented and enigmatic songwriters this island has to offer has announced her sixth studio album Semper Femina, due for release early next year. Laura Marling has always drawn from introspection and it seems that this latest album would draw on similar themes of broken romance and its aftermath. That is the theme for ‘Soothing’ to a large extent, yet she still meanders these themes with imaginative and intriguing imagery. The music that delivers this imagery is recorded in perfect isolation, as if there is a 10,000 ft drop off the end of each pluck of the guitar. What carries you between them is Laura’s earthy vocals which stretch and bend hauntingly as the song goes on. A simple track which does quite a lot.

Owen Riddle 

This Weeks Music Video with Beyoncé, The XX, Anhoni, Laura Marling, Tove Lo, OK GO and White Lies