#7: 'I Speak Because I Can' by Laura Marling
I recall first seeing Laura Marling in 2007 at my first Camden Crawl, having found her through my regular, geeky online trawls through blogs and the world of Myspace music, and managed to fall in love with her somewhere between the time she started and the time she finished her first song. I blogged about her here wayyy back on April 9th that year (PROOF!). A jaw-droppingly beautiful first album that ached with a wealth of knowledge years beyond her young age appeared in 2008 and it took another couple of years for Miss Marling to return with 'I Speak Because I Can', another release that oozes a melancholy folk ethos that yet again evokes the wisdom of a much more mature folk mistress.
The tracks here haunt the recesses of the mind, embedding themselves via a simple array of classical instruments, cutting through the heart and soul with a preposterous precision thanks to the crystal clear clarity in the tone and lyrics tumbling from the mouth of Marling. 'Devil's Spoke' rumbles into existence to mark her return, dipping into a dark blues territory thanks to a subtely rollicking riff. She soon settles down with the melancholy-tinged 'Blackberry Stone', dropping into innately personal mutterings of 'You never did learn to let the little things go', almost whispering into your ear as if stretched out beside you (which I would love very very very much).
There is a sophistication on offer that puts the recent cutesy indie folk scene dominant in Britain (Mumford and Noah etc) to shame (however much she was a part of it), taking her cues from the likes of Joni Mitchell and Nick Cave to take heartfelt tales and transform them into soaring melodies and deeply intimate lyrical reflection. Nick Drake-like storytelling is at the heart of Marling's approach, settled so softly and yet oh so powerfully in 'Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)', a wintery wilderness of self-awareness. Each new release and appearance from Marling has my heart racing and my mind melting, such is the fragility and beauty on offer, poised in an alluring delicacy that seems both so personal and yet so distant.