LAURA MARLING Semper Femina gets 6.5/10

LauraMarling

Laura Marling
Semper Femina
More Alarming Records/Kobalt

6.5/10

I’m not going to pretend I know or understand Latin – but the newest Laura Marling release had me googling rough translations of Semper Femina. I came to a vague understanding of it meaning “always female” which is entirely what this album represents. A delicacy and vulnerability of true femininity expressed in stunning folk ballads.

My earliest memories of Laura Marling were in the final treacherous months of the TEE. Her melodies provided a sense uplifting and soothing to the stress, fairly wholesome and natural. Maybe she was a woodland elf, mischievous and gentle, but whatever she was then, nine-years later she has found her stillness and humility. From a young sapling to a matured teak, Semper Femina focuses on the ethereal beauty of women and love.

Opening with Soothing, it’s a smoky jazzy bass track with some very interesting motifs. As the lounge style bass seduces you she tells us from the onset that “you can’t come in, you don’t live here anymore”.

The video clip directed by Marling herself features a red latex clad woman making her way onto a bed before being joined by another similarly dressed woman as they become interlaced in one another’s bodies. It acts as a light comment on seduction and tension and breaking molds of sexuality.

Following with The Valley is a perfect multi-layered track that focuses on grand, swelling string arrangements. Yet again we have another change with Wild Fire as an old country farm theme – simple and relaxed and a return to her humble acoustic roots.

The album continues to highlight her flexibility in her sound from folk to jazz to acoustic. It’s concise and neat and is the perfect Sunday coffee café soundtrack when you want to mellow and relax.

MIA CAMPBELL-FOULKES

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