Laura Marling – Once I Was an Eagle

While listening to this album and doing some research on Laura Marling I discovered that she had at one time performed with Mumford & Sons. Makes sense as her folk pop style meshes with theirs. Though the title of this her fourth solo album seems like it would be soaring (eagles soar, right?) nothing could be further from the truth. It is dark and depressing stuff. Thank heaven for small favours as it changes after the first seven songs. Containing songs about a relationship that is disturbed by suicide and filled with a combination of loneliness, heartbreak, and vulnerability thankfully it gets a little brighter towards the end. What really makes you sit up and listen carefully is Marling’s voice. It has so much depth and dimensions that it is a real wonder. When the song calls for it she reduces her voice to barely above a whisper so you really have to concentrate to listen.  Smart cookie! Combine this impressive weapon with the way she is able to break down and rebuild the structure of pop music to make is more complex is amazing. She really is a singer/songwriter who is mature beyond her age, but also harkens back to lyrical wizards of the past like Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan.  She’s not exactly there yet but I’m sure she will get there with a few more miles and heartbreaks under her belt.

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