'Semper Femina' - Super-cool LA meets the English Rose

Indie | Thursday 9th March 2017 | Jenny Desborough

Laura Marling may have risen to fame as a 17-year-old indie-folk artist, but Semper Femina is her most mature work yet.

Her last album, 2015's Short Movie, was her most electronic so far, sounding almost angry as she dealt with issues surrounding solitude and a new life in her adopted home of LA.

But this album sees a far more balanced union of her folk roots with the LA-fused guitar-synth we've come to expect. The album's final track, Nothing, Not Nearly, is a perfect example as her acoustic guitar is eventually drowned out by a scratchy electric guitar (channeling the epic solo on The Carpenters' Goodbye to Love). All the while, her low yet sweet vocal drifts hauntingly over the top as she declares 'nothing matters more than love'.

The album's title is roughly translated as 'always women' and comes from The Aeneid, Virgil's epic poem. But Marling admitted to the BBC that the quote in context means 'woman is always fickle and changeable', a sentiment she was happy to have tattooed on her leg at 21 and quotes in Nouel.

She also spoke out about how this album deals with gender, femininity and masculinity with the song Soothing featuring a music video that shows PVC-clad women writhing on a bed for an audience (in Marling's directorial debut). But the music tells a similar story, with the song's double bassline giving a strong, some might say masculine edge underneath Marling's high-pitched, choral vocal style and sweeping strings.

This is already being lauded as her best album yet, and from what can be heard so far, there's definitely reason to say so.

Semper Femina comes out on March 10, with four tracks now available on Spotify.