IF YOU’RE at all down with female acoustic songwriting – and I mean from any colour of the spectrum, from Laura Marling through to Aldous Harding, Gillian Welch through to Vashti Bunyan, Nadia Reid through to Marissa Nadler; then be prepared to add Londoner Laura Fell to your list of chanteuserie swoons.
Laura, a psychotherapist by day, only came to music in her mid-twenties when the poetry that she had penned for years began to feel more like songs. She honed her musical craft and has just signed for up and coming indie Balloon Machine.
In an interesting layering, Laura uses her music to seek answers herself – in a professional role wherein she’s always expected to have them.
Today she’s releasing her debut single, “Bone Of Contention”; happily you can listen below on our SoundCloud embed.
It examines a dysfunctional three-way relationship – is it another lover? in a 6/8 swing of acoustic guitars, piano, sliding strings and upfront lyricism. The other whom Laura sings at isn’t getting an easy ride: “Between me and him, between him and I, between us two / The bone of contention is you.”
So far, so pretty: but oh my lord above, that voice. Be prepared to arch brows the first time she slurs down toward the bass register as she sings ‘bones’ in the opening lines. You’ll think of the first time you ever heard Karen Dalton; the first time you ever heard Tim Buckley. Sorta that sorta voice. There’a luxurious chords in an open tuning. It’s mellifluous and husky and graceful all at once.
“Bone of Contention is an exercise in anger, really,” she says.
“I’ve always struggled to feel anger without also feeling out of control, and, therefore, disempowered. This song is about allowing myself to sit with my anger, and ending up finding clarity and power within it.”
Her debut album, Safe From Me, is due on November 20th. Here at Backseat Mafia we’re only just starting to live with the beauty therein, that voice, the grace; rest assured, dear reader, “Bone Of Contention” is no aberration. It’s exciting, isn’t it, when a new voice like Laura’s first comes ashore in your consciousness.
We will, of course, be reviewing the album in the middle of that month; for now, let’s play “Bone Of Contention” ooh, a few more times. That depth; that graceful slur.