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.
Laura M is a great singer-songwriter, which voice has often been compared to Joni Mitchell. In this new album, she leaves the road of often swinging folk-rock and brings slower numbers, which need much more to be listened to understand the beauty in the songs. I think that for some listeners, the songs are to much in the same vocal timbre: sometimes to slow on the edge of boring . But when you listen many times;, the gold slowly shows up. Anyway, I liked the former album better than the new one because it does not grasp you from he first note on.
I cannot stop playing this beautiful album. Laura Marling has created a work of art which stands comparison with the great singer/songwriter albums. This album deserves your full attention for its one hour duration. There are some breath-taking songs - such as Little Love Caster and Little Bird. The standard starts high, with a moody integrated four song cycle and then builds in quality throughout. The second half (after an intermission) is a total joy. Laura Marling's voice and songs are unique but you can hear the influence of the great writers of the 70's, including Joni, Dylan, Carole King and Laura Nyro. The song writing here is comparable with their best work - great heartbreak albums like Blood on the Tracks and Blue. Must be album of the year - I can't see it being topped in 2013.