The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


A review of the album 'I Speak Because I Can' by Laura Marling


Review Snapshot: The second album from folksy songstress Laura Marling highlights why I fell in love with her music in the first place and why you should too. With a staggering lyrical and vocal ability and it’s near impossible to fault this album.

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10

Full Review: The first thing that strikes me about ‘I Speak Because I Can’ in comparison to Laura Marling’s debut ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ is that her voice seems to have gained a new strength and confidence. While ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ is nothing short of excellent, a lot of her vocals were quieter and much more timid. Now, it appears that 20-year-old Marling is more aware of her awe-inspiring talent, and has no qualms about using it to her full ability.

The opening track on the album, and first single ‘Devil’s Spoke’ displays Marling’s incredible talent - it goes from an angsty and powerful chorus  to a sweet quiet verse, proclaiming that “But I am your keeper/And I hold your face away from light”, without it sounding displaced or overly-formulaic.

‘Blackberry Stone’ was originally released on the ‘Cross Your Fingers’ EP, but has wisely been added to this release as well. While sounding like Joni Mitchell the song is accompanied by the most sublime of violins. There’s a subtle reference which appears to have been made to Charlie Fink from Noah & the Whale with the lyric “I’ll be sad that I never held your hand as you were lowered.”

I’m torn between choosing the most engaging and favourite song of mine on this album. This indecision is between the two last tracks ‘Darkness Descends’ and ‘I Speak Because I Can.’ The former clearly shows how double tracking should be done, features a short guest vocal from Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons and shows noticeably more progression with a much more diverse vocal versatility.

However ‘I Speak Because I Can’ features quite endearing lyrics, beginning with “My husband left me last night” and “I cooked the meals the meals/And he got the life”. If ever there was a song needed to adequately accompany a Brontë novel, I’m certain this would be it.

Overall, ‘I Speak Because I Can’ shows a rarely found and astonishing talent. At times Marling’s vocals can be quiet, almost like Lisa Hannigan's, but then her voice soars to an affecting and emotive level. The instrumentation creates an atmospheric and enthralling sound. Talent in such abundance is hard to find, and while there are several bands around now who are being hailed as the ‘Next Big Thing’ chances are they’ll be forgotten in a year or two (looking at you, La Roux), but Laura Marling isn’t one of them. She’ll be around for a good while longer, and the world will be all the better for it.

Aideen O'Flaherty

More ...

[Read More...]

Posted in: Album Reviews
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |

Search Articles

Nuggets from our archive

2004 - The CLUAS Reviews of Erin McKeown's album 'Grand'. There was the positive review of the album (by Cormac Looney) and the entertainingly negative review (by Jules Jackson). These two reviews being the finest manifestations of what became affectionately known, around these parts at least, as the 'McKeown wars'.