Single Review: Laura Marling – Soothing

By on Wednesday, 7th December 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Laura Marling might not specifically identify herself as a feminist songwriter, but her work has taken a decidedly feminist turn of late. Following her most recent project ‘Reversal of the Muse’, a series of podcasts which she described as “an exploration of femininity in creativity’, Marling has announced a new album with a distinctly feminist title: ‘Semper Femina’.

Due for release early next year, ‘Semper Femina’ will be Marling’s sixth full length record, but its first single, ‘Soothing’ marks her first experience as a music video director. Inspired by “a series of vivid dreams Laura experienced whilst making the album,” the promo video is a study in contrasts, both visual and musical.

The predominant imagery in the video features two female bodies clad in shiny pleather, synchronously writhing and weaving to the tribal drum rhythm and the serpentine groove of the song’s bass line. This scene is interspersed with views of a small and staid gathering of onlookers, and a male-female couple sensually intertwined with a long blue ribbon. Marling’s vocals throughout the song are as striking as the pleather garments on her visual subjects. Her voice is ever so slightly strident, angular and sharp against the lush but subdued instrumental arrangement, beginning and ending her loose narrative with the same lyric: “you can’t come in, you don’t live here anymore.” The dark, unusual colour of the bowed string harmony only adds to the song’s elusive quality.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/eCS4OTgaHeM[/youtube]

‘Soothing’ might invoke more questions than it answers about ‘Semper Femina’, but it’s an intriguing first look into Marling’s headspace after her starkly personal previous album ‘Short Movie’. From this point, the album could easily veer off into experimental avant-garde territory, but it might also be the album that establishes Laura Marling as one of the defining songwriters of her still-young generation.

8.5/10

Laura Marling’s sixth studio album ‘Semper Femina’ is due for release on the 10th of March 2017, via More Alarming Records/Kobalt. Marling has already announced a list of UK live dates to support the album release; you can find details here. TGTF’s full archive of previous coverage on Laura Marling, dating back to 2008, is right this way.

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