Single Review: Laura Marling – Sophia

By on Tuesday, 2nd August 2011 at 12:00 pm

Wait wait wait. Are you telling me Laura Marling is ready to release her third album this autumn? You heard right, folks. The young yet incredibly prolific – not to mention incredibly talented – Marling has readied ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’ for release in September, and last week she treated us to hearing the first single, ‘Sophia’.

From the opening bars and words, it sounds like classic Laura Marling – gentle guitar notes and thoughtful, honeyed vocals. But here’s where Marling leaves all other female 200-somethings in the dust: the emotionally mature lyrics that grace every single one of her songs. Some reviewers have already commented that this song shows a level of maturity that was not present on her previous recordings; I beg to differ. She has always had an edge of experience that belied her age, which I admit was a little unnerving the first time I saw her live last year, performing a cover of Neil Young’s ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ with so much emotion, you almost believed she herself had been a heroin addict.

In the case of ‘Sophia’, it starts as a tale of promiscuity, but not in the way that most songs in the 21st century want to portray (you know what I mean). It’s not dirty, it speaks the truth. Then halfway through the tempo picks up and I’m probably in the minority on this, but I don’t like how it turns into a knee-slapping, pub tune all of a sudden. It detracts from the original veiled beauty so painstakingly created at the start. It turns into Joni Mitchell-flavoured territory, and it’s a flavour that I admittedly don’t care for. Don’t get me wrong: it’s fun and freewheeling, but after you’ve enjoyed the balladry of the beginning, it’s kind of disappointing that Marling feels that she has to Mumford it up. And well, I guess she has to, if she wants to get played on the radio.



Laura Marling’s ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’, her third album, will be released on the 12th of September, with ‘Sophia’ the single to be released a week before, on the 5th of September. You can catch Marling live on her UK cathedral tour in October.

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