This is the fourth album from the English songstress de jour Laura Marling. I think it is probably one of her best, it is certainly her most consistent. Marling has written what sounds like a very personal and meaningful set of songs, her writing has certainly matured and flowered over the last couple of releases. Teamed with Ethan Johns, the album is filled with her distinctive powerful voice leading us through tales of love, betrayal, loss and other griefs. There is an undercurrent of anger in her voice, as well as heartbreak. Just behind her voice is a deceptively simple sounding backing, that perfectly supports her voice where needed, erupting into outspoken bridges bursting with energy that breaks up the record and prevents it becoming one note dreary. The tone is firmly rooted in some of our folk traditions, but Marling is a bit of a musical magpie, and there are stretches that are influenced by Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd (indeed, the bass line from `I was an Eagle' seems to have been lifted wholesale from Pink Floyd's `Fearless' on the `Meddle' album). Stand out tracks are the energetic `Master Hunter', with Marling's superb fast singing, and `I was an Eagle', with a great lyric (and bass line).
A great album, from a great singer/songwriter. I feel that as well as her best lyrics to date, her teaming with Ethan Johns has produced a sound that totally suits her, and is quite spectacular. 5 stars for this delight of an album.