❉ Laura Marling’s surprise new album is a recommended treat, writes Eoghan Lyng.
What the world needs now is some Paul McCartney. Whether he strums behind Rihanna, tootles along with Richard Hewson or just throws up any silly love song, this grimly situated world could do with some punchy music.Typical of the obstinate sun, it comes out just as Britain is told to stay firmly hidden behind their curtain poles. But with the Get Back film prohibiting the bassist from many extracurricular activities, it is a great pleasure to introduce the next best thing to McCartney in these socially distanced times.
Like many of us, Laura Marling was a late convert to the Wings frontman’s back catalogue: “…I really only saw a surface level of Paul….But then I did the full catalogue of solo Paul McCartney stuff and saw I was obviously wrong.” He’s steeped into her music, and if you ask me, Song For Our Daughter feels like the midway point between the wild-fire Ram and the ram-shackled Wild Life. Just like the Smile Away writer, Marling marries her British background with a more Transatlantic influence.
But Marling also boasts a fab quality that’s entirely her own. Simply listen to the drum heavy Held Down, the pastoral The End Of The Affair and the pleasantly Vera Lynn-like Hope We Meet Again for evidence. Her self-described homage to McCartney,Blow By Blow, shares a title with Jeff Beck’s hair-raising album. Beck frequently collaborated with rock legend Glyn Johns. Fittingly, Marling, a child of the Beatles ilk, collaborates with Glyn’s son Ethan as co-producer. It feels like it could have been cut in the seventies and released in this current musical market.
The title track reflects Marling’s deep interest in the domestic pleasures. There’s scarcely an electric guitar heard on the album, deep rooted in the jaunty melodies that once hung in the London Music Halls. Marling sings very well, especially on the whimsical For You. A beautiful closing track, the song shows Marling’s blithe, elegant voice at its purest. Adding to the rustic beauty, a twangy George Harrison type solo leads the tune to it’s inspired instrumental section.
Ever a perfectionist, Marling admits many of the backing vocals are her doing: “So I did all of the arrangements, I knew all the musicians I wanted to work with. I mixed the record with Dom [Monks — who has engineered several Marling albums]. And all of the backing vocals on this album I did at home because I wanted no one else’s opinion!”
Then there’s Alexandra, a rollicking skiffle rocker; complete with a bass pattern undulating behind the song. It’s the most exceptional stand alone track the album boasts. Lasting little over three minutes, the song whizzes with the pop breeze a traditional pop single should honour. With it’s anthemic chorus, delicate vocal performance and laid back production style, the song is destined to be heard both on radio and as an individual download.
It’s one of the textures that makes this album such a recommended treat.
❉ A regular contributor to We Are Cult, Eoghan Lyng’s writing has also appeared in New Sounds, Record Collector, CultureSonar, Punk Noir Magazine, DMovies, Phacemag and other titles. Follow him on Twitter. Visit his homepage.