Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can

January 01, 1970



She emerged in 2008 as a contemporary British folkie, but
Laura Marling’s sophomore release isn’t so simply described.  If I
Speak Because I Can
is a folk record, it’s only in the sense that Nick
Drake or Leonard Cohen (or Feist or Joanna Newsom) are “folk” artists; the
music begins there, but ends in other, more interesting places. Marling dresses
her songs in such a multitude of costumes – lush strings, plucked banjo,
thunderous drums – that the cumulative effect is a record pushing everywhere
against its own boundaries. 


“Rambling Man,” for instance, opens as a straightforward
acoustic lament, but soon deepens into a bottom-heavy personal anthem.  I Speak,
fittingly enough given the title, is a confident record in every detail, and at
a brisk 35 minutes there’s very little here that sounds extraneous.  What’s most interesting about the album is
its sheer stylistic breadth.  Soft
balladeering segues into sinister thrumming, and Marling’s self-assured,
lyrically gripping performances knit even its most diverse parts together, so
that I Speak, for all its variety,
hangs together admirably well.


Standout Tracks: “Made
By Maid,” “Rambling Man” ERIC WAGGONER



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