Laura Marling is back, with Song For Our Daughter being her latest folk-tinged release. The album release was actually brought forwards due to the current coronavirus pandemic that’s affecting the UK, and we are eternally grateful to Laura for deciding to give us this glimpse of heaven earlier than expected.
By Jane Howkins
One thing that immediately stands out is that most of the songs here seem to be composed on the acoustic guitar, with that instrument being well in mind for the majority of the arrangements as well. This might sound like an odd thing to point out, but the last two albums Marling released were rather insistent on the use of the electric guitar, something that she discovered relatively late. This added a nice change to her sound, but it’s nice to hear her going back to her roots here.
There are ten tracks on offer, with Marling’s soaring vocals mixing well with the poppy melodies and tactical guitar playing on offer. She’s got this talent of combining lots of instruments together and making it sound absolutely effortless, when really there’s a lot more going on here than it at first sounds like. Tracks like Held Down sound perhaps poppier than we’re used to, but there’s nothing here that suggests Laura is going further towards the mainstream than one would like.
Our only slight issue is that we still find ourselves pining somewhat for the eerie folk songs that Marling made her own on her first couple of albums, which seemed to emerge again somewhat on her last record. Then again, you could say that all artists have to progress in their own way (and Laura Marling is one of the few singer-songwriters out there who seems to have changed her sound on every album), and it’s great to hear her writing songs in a more major key, perhaps showing a stability that wasn’t there in the beginning. Only The Strong almost reaches this spot but it doesn’t quite get there, but it’s still a stand out song for this reviewer.
Another interesting thing to point out about SFOD is that Marling hasn’t actually had any children (to our knowledge anyway), with the title referring to an imaginary child, passing her wisdom to that child. It’s an interesting concept, and it allows Marling a format in which to open herself up to the world, providing lyrics that she might not otherwise feel comfortable unleashing otherwise.
As with her previous albums, most of the tracks on Song For Our Daughter require listening to a few times, until it all finally clicks into place. The payoff for doing this is fantastic, and it seems that Laura Marling has once again managed to produce something that is near perfect. Song For Our Daughter is a beautiful album, and one that we’ll be listening to a lot over the next few months.