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I Speak Because I Can Single
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Critically-acclaimed second studio album by the British singer-songwriter. The album features the singles 'Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)', 'Devil's Spoke' and 'Rambling Man'.
When Laura Marling appeared on the folk scene in 2008, aged 17, there was almost as much anticipation of her promise as praise for the music she produced. This was no bad thing, allowing development as an artist, and crucially not placing too much pressure or expectation on not-as-yet broad shoulders. Her debut, Alas, I Cannot Swim, was delivered to a generous critical reception, but the question asked this time round was always going to be one of progression, and the fulfilment of that abundant early talent.
Listening to Alas and second full-length, I Speak Because I Can, back-to-back, a change in tone – if not direction – is evident from opener and lead single Devil's Spoke. The production here is more deliberate and pored-over, expanding upon the earlier bare-bones approach. A leaf out of the Mumford & Sons school of orchestration has also been taken, with Rambling Man the greatest representation of this. The development in vocal styling is also stark; gone is the wispy, quick-fire phrasing and in walks deeper, slower, huskier proclamations. In many ways darkness has replaced the brightness.
It would, however, be disingenuous to paint this record as a collection of Marling's miserabilism. Despite the downbeat opening tracts, certain songs – Darkness Descends and I Speak Because I Can – abound with optimism and the ultimate, swelling crescendo of the latter displays an impressive mastery of dynamics. Similarly, at least a touch of variation is a necessity in folk, and this is demonstrated frequently, no more noticeably than when the boisterous acceleration of Alpha Shallows falls under a weight of heavy strums and gives way to the subtle, tender love letter to a country that is Goodbye England (Covered In Snow).
There was a justifiable argument to be made that Marling's real talent had to be seen live; the recorded compositions not revealing the entire picture. With I Speak Because I Can, that argument may now end. Though just 20, it doesn't appear within her scope to make an outright bad album, and here we are shown a few more glimpses of her gift, but yet not an overwhelming outpouring of it. It's clear that there has been a progression as a songwriter, with a previously unfound depth apparent on these ten tracks. Though it undoubtedly draws on the travails of the past two-or-so years, there remains, without a doubt, more in the can from young Laura. --Luke Slater
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Top Customer Reviews
Its amazing. This doesn't feel like folk or indie- it sounds like blues to me, maybe even soul. It reminded me of Blue, one of my favourite albums of all time, not because its like it, but because it's an emotional journey.
The album's like a wave, forming with Devil on a Spoke, reminding me of American folk, but then cresting with Made by Maid and Rambling Man softly bringing you down to the fizz of Blackberry Stone to Alpha Shallows on a Greek beach for dancing around a beach fire. Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) is beautiful, not just because it reminds me of this January's frightful beauty, but it's so soft, yet rising. There's some anger in Hope in the Air, but there's pure fantasy and magic in What He Wrote, which is my favourite song from the album. Darkness Descends is a lifting wave, taking you back out to sea on a party boat, before the title song settles you down to the rocking boat as a storm blows by.
The sound quality is excellent, an improvement on Alas and her voice comes through amazingly. The music's simple- mostly guitar, with the odd flourish from back up singers and clarinets etc. Her voice- it's as magical as always. But I think in this album, I hear more passion, more love and bitterness and excitement. And this is what has given me shivers. It's wonderful.
The reason behind that is because I loved loved LOVED "Alas, I cannot swim" and for me, the darkness of "I speak because I can" was too different and too ... for want of a better word, frightening for me. After I got used to the change however, I think I love "I speak because I can", perhaps even more than the first album. for people that know her first album, her second is slightly bolder and slightly louder (well as loud as Laura Marling can be), with more things like banjos in (the mumford & sons influence- all of them apart from one contributed to the album so maybe you can kind of imagine the effect).
for me, Laura Marling's music is very lonely and melancholy. Her simplicity is haunting and even her songs with a bit more of a beat or her songs that are written in the major key still hold that loneliness and melancholy. This is why I love her so much. The way she sings is effortless. This is how I would describe her: an effortless talent. In other words, a natural talent. I think that's lacking in recent times. People who dislike her music probably dislike her lack of extreme and obvious sounds in both the music and in her singing, but for me it's refreshing. It's all a matter of taste but I thought I would try and describe why I like her, so that hopefully others can get an idea of what her music is like. it's very hard to explain but for me, her music holds all sorts of meaning that i had never experienced until i discovered her.
What makes her so special? The answers are vulnerability, versatility and voice. This sophomore album displays all these qualities in good measure. It is an incredibly mature set of songs containing a number of latent classics and potentially the best female voice I have heard since the young Joni Mitchell. Sorry if you think this hyperbole but with talent like this why be measured?
Having listened to this album constantly on repeat since the Times kindly streamed it (and be assured the Amazon order is in) it confirms an enormous step forward and not least since she has avoided the obvious rerun of her debut and some of its more commercial elements. The above paper has called it a "very British album - think snow-covered England, blackberries and cold noses". This description goes someway to capturing its atmospherics of folk rock but not the lyrical depth and breadth which many of her contemporaries lack.
Overall what is noticeable are the many echoes of Dylan on this album.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I HAVE ALL LAURA MARLINGS ALBUMS AND WILL GET ANYMORE SHE MAKES.WHAT A TALENTED SINGER SONG WRITER BRITISH TOOPublished 7 months ago by eric tottle
What an album! Really easy listening! I can listen to this on repeat and just get lost in the sound of her voice!Published 12 months ago by Mr. Sd Peak
I always feel like Laura Marling's music goes straight from my ears to my soul. Beautiful CD, like all the other she's released.Published 12 months ago by Gabi Everett
Some good tracks and some not so good. Got this and another of her albums to see what the music was like. Don't be put off though, some good music on album. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Handy from York