One of the hardest working female artists in the UK is Laura Marling. Her name is met with startling contrast. You have the devout fans who have followed Marling from her humble beginnings in 2006 and the others who simply shrug. For people with no knowledge of Laura Marling, she is perhaps most recognisable for her vocals on Noah and the Whale’s breakout hit ‘5 Years Time‘. Laura was a member of this band before she split with Charlie Fink (inspiring the weepy First Days of Spring album) and pursued her own direction in music.
At the tender age of just 18, she released her debut album Alas I Cannot Swim. With this Marling took her shaky baby steps alone and produced some true gems such as ‘Night Terror‘ and ‘Ghosts‘. The album went on to earn her a first nomination for the prestigious Mercury Prize Award. She gained the most notoriety for the stunning I Speak Because I Can. With the accompaniment of Marcus Mumford, Marling wrote one of the most tender and fragile albums of the past decade which discussed the themes of relationships, growing older and home routes. There is a quiet power in ‘Goodbye England‘, as its narrative captivates and enthrals all at once, whilst ‘Devil’s Spoke‘ is evocative and atmospheric and title track ‘I Speak Because I Can‘ is masterful, subtle and overwhelming all at once.
This album rewarded her with a second Mercury prize award and a Brit award for Best Female Solo Artist in 2011, beating the likes of Ellie Goulding and Cheryl Cole. Her third album followed in just over a year, and is my personal favourite. A Creature I Don’t Know is more experimental. The ethereal nature of ‘Sophia‘ contrasts spectacularly to the dark, erotic and aggressive ‘The Beast‘. It’s my favourite LP which stands as a completed piece. This spotlight is once again aptly timed as Laura releases her fourth album Once I Was an Eagle, an accomplished and mature record which includes the rousing ‘Master Hunter‘ and has been scored at 90/100 by Metacritic which indicates universal acclaim.
Do not mistake Marling’s work ethic for a Rihanna style gimmick i.e let’s release as many albums as possible of recycled shit before you become irrelevant. Each of Laura’s LPs are thoughtfully crafted and brilliantly written, she is sure to become a musical icon whose music will be shared for generations. So rather than reaching for your plastic fantastic ‘divas’ *cough* Gaga *cough* try an artist with real intelligence and pure talent.