Richard Brabin witnesses Laura Marlin's celebration of womanhood and finds it 'effortlessly delightful'
- Laura Marling
- O2 Academy Oxford
- March 13 2017
Every generation or so, life tends to spit out the odd Laura Marling, a musical anomaly who has unbridled natural talent, unlimited creativity and optimises the phrase je ne sais quoi.
At the notorious musical age of 27, Marling appears to have achieved so much that if she was found lifeless in her hotel room tomorrow morning, the depth and immensity of her work to date would be contribution enough before her career has truly began to break sweat.
Her most recent and sixth studio album Semper Femina is as effortlessly delightful as all previous work and, as one might imagine from the title, extremely thematic, a colourful celebration of feminine relationships and what it means to be a modern woman.
Not many singer-songwriters a decade into their careers still have such a pull that they comfortably sell out 1,000 plus capacity venues weeks before they are due to perform. Even less do it with such grace, poise and humility that we somehow feel we have been invited into Marling’s front room for an intimate and personal performance.
Larger venues often feel unemotional and stagnant, but Marling’s affability and tranquil nature shines through, captivating her eager audience throughout her generous hour-and-a-half on stage. We are treated to an array of Marling’s back catalogue, compositions which rubber stamp her diversity and incredible musical malleability, one song twee and heartfelt, the next full of anguish and pain and then into romping folk inflected ballads filled with pathos and nostalgia.
Her voice, the intricacy of her finger picking and the complete undisturbed calm she projects shows a consummate performer who truly understands how to express herself musically in a perfectly unique way. With absolutely no pretence or ego, Marling wades through an eclectic set of songs which span her career with a carefree ease that soothes the soul and excites the eardrums.
What makes Marling a true great is that she and her music are one and the same. There is no point where Marling stops and the musician begins, it is all interlinked so effortlessly and her music is as tangible an appendage as a limb or organ. To experience anything so unrefined and natural is truly a thing of beauty.
RICHARD BRABIN 4/5