acoustic

Single review: Laura Marling’s ‘Soothing’

Four and a half stars

Slinky, seductive, and perhaps just a little coy, Laura Marling’s first single from upcoming album Semper Femina is as bewitching a herald of things to come as we could have hoped for.

Gone is the broody darkness, replaced by sensuality and tenderness. Gone are the earthy acoustic tones, replaced by sparse percussion and bluesy electric guitar. Somehow, we’ve ended up in experimental jazz territory, the likes of which are usually inhabited by Norah Jones. But Marling makes this strange new land her own.

Wafting delicately amongst the rhythmic gyrations and harmonic instability, Marling’s vocal has all the hushed intimacy of pillow talk, and all the confident authority of a narrator. It’s a combination of contexts that is as bewildering as it is bewitching, but when a cloud of strings lifts us into the dreamy surrender of the chorus (sounding a little as though it’s taken a leaf from Kate Bush’s book), all is deliciously clear.

The abundance of latex in the music video may spell it out, but the low purr of sexuality makes itself known through the songwriting alone. The tension of the verse melts into a gentle sigh of pleasure; Marling sings “I need soothing”, but the request sounds so fulfilled it seems to be uttered after the fact.

Soothing showcases a self-composed Marling, ready and willing to tackle her introspective themes with a softness she may not have known how to use before. It’s promising, it’s exciting and it’s bloody beautiful.

March 2017 can’t come fast enough.

Semper Femina is out March 10th, 2017 on Marling’s label More Alarming.
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On repeat lately (#3)

St Lucia – Do You Remember

So. Much. 1980’s. Goodness. Do you need another reason? Okay then, explosive indie-pop choruses and exuberant waves of synth. This one is just bursting out of its skin with joy. And so will you.

Sally Seltmann – Heart That’s Pounding

It would be remiss of me to do an On Repeat Lately post without mentioning Ms Seltmann’s Heart That’s Pounding album. Every few months it makes a reappearance and goes on heavy rotation during my daily commute – and every few months it sounds as sweet and fresh as the first time I heard it.

The Heavy – Since You’ve Been Gone

I was lucky enough to be given a pre-release version of the entire album for review, but I highly suggest you groove along to this funky-as-hell single until April 1 brings the full track-listing.

Lontalius – A Feeling So Sweet

New Zealand teen Eddie Johnston (aka. Lontalius) puts insomnia, insecurity and self-examination to music in a way so delicate it might just blow away on the breeze. It feels wrong to only list one song from a collection that is so beautifully cohesive it should be listened to as a whole.

City of the Sun – Brothers

(Listen to Brothers on iTunes here)

Earthy instrumentals that sound like the quieter sibling of Bears With Guns. Reverb-laden guitar hooks echo into the spaces between soft tambourine accents and free-spirited strumming rhythms. Good lord, this stuff is dreamy.