Mar 15, 2017 Web Exclusive
Find It At: AMAZON
Laura Marling's Semper Femina—a Latin phrase taken from Virgil's Aeneid which roughly means "always a woman"—is a superb showing of contemporary folk music. Like in her previous five albums, Marling borrows from the genre's traditions, weaving her prose with a picked or a brushed acoustic guitar. But here, under the guidance of Blake Mills, additional instrumentation generously unfurls alongside Marling to enliven and embrace her words. The distorted guitar riff throughout "Don't Pass Me By" is "that old tune, the one I used to sing for you," turned sour, the flourishing strings of "Next Time" is the freedom she desires, and the steady, repetitive duelling bass lines of "Soothing" is Marling battling with herself before deciding to break free.
At the core of Semper Femina is love. This love is the cause of grief ("I banish you with love," sings Marling in "Soothing") but the spirit is also uplifted because of it. Love endures on "The Valley" and "Always This Way," it fills the tender acts of "Nouel," and it is offered unconditionally on the standout "Wild Fire" when Marling sings, "I do it all for her for free, I need nothing back for me." On the closing track "Nothing Not Nearly," Marling comes to the conclusion that was forming throughout her record: "Nothing matters more than love."
In all, Semper Femina is powerful display of Marling's craft and, the album's driving force, love. (www.lauramarling.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10
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