From the first delicate note of this album to the last, it is an absolute delight. Laura Marling is an incredible artist who although only having released two albums, has already twice been deservedly nominated for the Mercury prize. Her first album Alas I Cannot Swim was a girl and a guitar. She showcased her incredible song writing talent with a simple sounding album which had themes of love, loss and disappointment far beyond the artists 17 years. 2010 brought news of not one but potentially two new Laura Marling albums and a slew of live dates including loads of festivals to show off the new material.
I Speak Because I Can is a development from Marling’s debut. There is the extra instrumentation; with added banjos and drums etc, and the themes have become bigger. Instead of the more personal Alas I Cannot Swim, in the second album Marling uses Classical themes of Oedipus and King Lear and characterisation to express herself. Rambling Man talks of a husband leaving a wife, and deals with the struggles of the woman exquisitely: It’s hard to accept yourself for someone you don’t desire/As someone you don’t want to be. Heart-breakingly beautiful lyrics like this are dotted throughout the album. It’s a more grown-up album which deals with issues so beautifully that whilst at times it may feel as though it has a melancholy edge, it never stops being beautiful, poignant and divine.
Anyone can find something within this album to relate to. Though reviews have talked about I Speak Because I Can mostly being concerned with ‘women’s issues’ it is by no means inaccessible to anybody. The poetic lyrics and gorgeous melodies are utterly appealing, and this comes across both within the album and when the songs are played live. Tracks such as Goodbye England (Covered in Snow) evoke the English countryside in winter so clearly that you could swear you could visualise it. This is what sums up the whole album, you can really visualise and feel what Marling is trying to convey with her music. You can’t fail but be affected by it. It is a massive contender for the Mercury prize this year, and even if it doesn’t win, Marling can feel very proud of this beautiful album and we can all feel excited for more to come this year.
Words: Alexia Smith