Laura Marling has been very busy following her introductory ‘London Town EP’ in 2007, with further studio work; including Mercury Music Prize nominated debut album ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ in 2008, second album ‘I Speak Because I Can’ in 2010 and third album ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’ in 2011. Therefore, highly anticipated new release ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ is tipped to continue Marling’s uniquely modern folk/pop stylings. With her popularity increasing and her voice regularly appearing on national radio, has Marling remained true to her roots or is the commercialised music world more appealing?
Opening with ‘Take The Night Off’, Marling’s simplistic vocals immediately draw attention, creating a palpable sense of anticipation, appeased by the subtle addition of guitar and piano, setting the atmosphere to be expected in this record. Each track seamlessly flows into the next, connecting the album in a folk narrative, guiding listeners through a journey of love, pain, power and confidence – simply, a collection of art in its purest form. The maturity and growth of Marling has increased with every release and is more than evident throughout ‘Once I Was An Eagle’. Tracks such as, ‘Master Hunter’ with its dominant lyrics, powerfully sharp vocals and relentless guitar rhythm that does not release until the final strum; and the comparatively delicate ‘Once’, showcasing the extent to which this singer’s voice can be as beautiful and elegant as it is raw and uncompromising, pulling at every heart string and vocalising every emotion. One would presume an album of this size, 16 tracks in total, would lose focus at some point and fall foul of ‘filler’ – quite the opposite, from beginning to the cracking and reflective finale ‘Saved These Words’, each song has its place and purpose.
It is rare that a fourth album retains the artistic intent that appeared in the artist’s debut, the enthusiasm can wane and the passion fizzle. Not with Laura Marling, each album has been a step up to the next, each track a new story to tell and ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ is no deviation. There is no doubt that if she remains consistent, she will make an indelible mark and soar into music greatness.