Laura Marling
Song For Our Daughter

An Album of Encores – From a Girl Who Doesn’t Do Encores!

There are several artistes where a release every three or four years is the norm, but that’s not a stick to hit Laura Marling with as this (surprise) release will be her 7th in around ten years.
And from the first couple of listens may well be one of her best.
Apart from her very different solo releases she was also part of LUMP with Mike Lindsay of Tunng after a ‘chance meeting’ at a bowling alley – personally, most folk I have met at such places tend to annoy me as they race up to hurl their ball down just as I was trying to get a very sneaky ten pin.
I enjoyed Laura’s early stuff but have to admit it was the release of Short Movie in 2014 that really made me notice her again – an album that I really liked and generally the reviews were good too.
This surprise latest release sees her produce an album filled with several
encores (see later) and to me it’s about relationships in many guises with her voice drifting between folk and country, but with a slight pop tinge?
On Song For A Daughter she leaves a ‘book by your bed that some survivor
’ to try to guide a young girl through life in a very personal way.
Clearly a cry from the heart for her own daughter.
In Strange Girl she has to ‘stay low’ and ‘not to bullshit me’ before reflecting that changes will occur and ‘you will need to roll like a tidal wave’.
To me Blow by Blow is a classic track as a relationship is laid out in the Press trying to see ‘what she will do with all this time’. And a brilliant observation that ‘Thunder gives away what lightning tries to hide’.
In Only the Strong ‘love is a sickness cured by time’ so only the strong will survive to be able to change minds. A personal observation but who knows? More sadness in Fortune as the money ‘mam had put aside to run away’ has gone and the loss of that fortune brings hope of a ‘fortune that never grows old’.
In Held Down ‘at 4 in the morning’ her partner has gone as the ‘days are shorter and the nights longer’. Another partnership that appears to have broken up albeit possibly too early. This is probably the most poppy song not that it will get you dancing in the aisles.
The End of an Affair is what it says on the album cover as she tries to make the best of a failed affair that ends with a shake of hands and a plea ‘to let me live my life’. Hope We Meet Again has a ‘people shy guy’ being sought presumably to re-kindle for a ‘meeting some day but never change’. As the guitar comes in this could easily be a small bar as a trio go through their repertoire to an engages audience.
For You is another brilliant track where the audience hum their way through the song as those on stage sit in a spotlight slowly dimming as the song comes to an end and the strings and guitar come on strong……
Her voice is as good as ever but the strings by Rob Moose (The National and
Anthony & The Johnsons) adds a lush sound to an album that has surprised me completely with the changes of direction and the lyrics of many tracks.
In a couple of LM gig reviews the writers make it clear ‘she does not do encores,’ well on this album she has several that could make an encore list so she may have re-considered her stance!
It’s never too late to change and this album demonstrates that perfectly. The poppy 18 year old is now a seasoned performer and any tour to highlight this album would see me offering up a few bob to attend.
The one thing to come out of the virus situation is that it has given me ample time on my exercise walk to listen to and get the full feel of the album – it’s an ill wind!!
If you are a fan this will definitely be one to add and if (so far) you are not then this might just be the one to convince you.

Released April 10th 2020

Review by ‘The Original Rocking Magpie’ Bill Redhead.

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