Knowing very little, in fact nothing at all about Laura Marling, I did what any normal muso with OCD would do and checked my collection. The closest I could get was the miseducation of Lauryn Hill before the alphabetisation leapt to Led Zep, Leftfield, The LemonHeads and the Levellers so I lowered the cherry-picker, washed my hands five times, turned around anticlockwise twice and sat down to take the digital option.
The first two, simple acoustic chords lured me into, not quite false hope, but a definite false sense of security and I switched into gentle melody mode. The opening lyric made me write Patti Smith and Sheryl Crow on my pad before I noticed the overdriven riff building behind this clearly American lady of thirty or forty something.
I should, at this stage point out that we musn’t necessarily completely trust what I write on my pad. Recently, due to my day job, I had to sit through an hours presentation on Bloodborne Pathogens before taking a timed and relatively complex online exam. At the end of the presentation, I turned to my pad to see what my right hand had been doing. The notes read “Blood, Spunk, Death”.
Back to Miss Marling, and next I write Suzanne Vega, possibly due to the reference to, and pronunciation of, ‘ apartment on the upper west side’ before the Sheryl Crow scribble is confirmed with the intonation in the line “I don’t sleep at night”. Next she leaps from choral treble to a spoken outburst with too many syllables to be sung before seamlessly returning to the treble.
I’ve got this lady’s number, she’s clearly been around for a while or two, hails from the midwest and probably dated Eric Clapton sometime in the eighties – Job done!
For those of you who already know Laura’s work and back-story, you can now stopshouting at your monitor because next, mainly out of curiosity, not to be confused with insecurity about my ability to judge a book by it’s cover, I googled her…
At not quite 25 years of age, Laura Marling is young enough to be Eric Claptons Granddaughter, but she is no fledgling as far as her music goes. Her debut album “Alas, I cannot swim” released in 2008 when she was ‘just seventeen’ (You know what I mean?), follow-up and fourth albums were all nominated for the Mercury prize. In 2011 she took the Brit for Best female solo artist and in 2013 the NME listed her follow up album ‘I speak because I can’ at 263 in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time…she was twenty when the album was released in case this number leaves you unimpressed.
If this wasn’t enough for me to lose all trust (almost) in my right hand, I check her geography. She is from the midwest, if your geography is as bad as mine and are able to convince yourself that Hampshire…Not the new one, the old one, near Reading (ish) can be described as such.
This lady, (and believe me I was tempted to write girl…but I won’t) has a voice conceived somewhere between Woodstock and CBGB’s and an angst in her lyric that was posted from New York sometime in 1965 and travelled via Seattle, Memphis and seemingly, half the globe before landing here in 1990.
False hope, for me, for now offers quite the opposite and I have moved from believing that I was sitting down, to some sort of Taylor Swift-esque chewing-gum churnout, to standing up to separate Lauryn Hill from Led Zeppelin by a good couple of inches.