Positive: 7 out of 7
Mixed: 0 out of 7
Negative: 0 out of 7
May 28, 2013Alas I Cannot Swim, was a record who's creator clearly felt torn between two places: being a London teenager and being a contemporary folk singer. It's fair to say that the folk came through a lot stronger on many of the tracks. However, it is unmistakably a teenager's album. Some lines like "If he [God] made in his image me then he's a failure too" and "Mom thinks that you're sad/ And that you're living alone/ And your friends think if you're sad/ You should call them more" they're remarkably insightful, true and a clever examination of a teenager's life, and mature, but not necessarily wise. Enter I Speak Because I Can. The older and wiser sister of Alas I Cannot Swim. It feels like twenty, thirty, even forty years older. But there's a youth about it, a freshness.
This record encapsulates the sound of times gone by alongside a thin but precious streak of the future, that may one day come into realisation. Our teenage singer has become a woman, and her music, cold, sparse and delicately beautiful resonates throughout the album. The places in society and the role of women, and humans, are a central topic. Opener Devil's Spoke makes reference to king Odysseus, while Rambling Man alludes to Catherine of Aragon. Made By Maid describes a "babe atop a log" saved by a maid. The child grows up under her watchful eye, only to "blame me for every wrong ever he made". While these songs all take root from some catalytic piece of literature, it feels as though Marling relates with every character she brings into her musical idiom.
I Speak Because I Can, the tumultuous closing track that swells from whisper to roar, draws inspiration from Penelope, the abandoned wife of King Odysseus: "My husband left me last night/ Left me a poor a lonely wife/ And I cooked the meals and he got the life/ And now I'm just out for the rest of my time" where inspiration is taken from, it feels like the result could be as much Marling's own perfectly phrased biographical statement "I speak because I can/ To anyone I trust enough to listen"
That line itself sums up I Speak Because I Can as an album: Marling trusts those who'll listen to understand what is said, plain and true. Her crystalline delivery and thorny lyrics opening up a gift, to put it pretentiously. It's a wonderful statement in itself: music at its best is music that is listened to, not heard.… Expand
GaryBApr 9, 2010I Speak is beautifully written performed and produced. Laura Marling is an awesome talent.
KevinApr 6, 2010A nearly flawless collection of British folk music in a contemporary setting. The Ms. Marlings of this world come by oh so very un-often! do buy this disc, don't wait for a stateside release.… Expand
LauraO.Apr 7, 2010Loved the first one, but this one haunts. Brilliant.
StephenB.Apr 12, 2010Love folk music and this is up there with the classics.
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