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Laura Marling, 'Sophia'
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Reviews Editor Emily Mackay described the album as containing "more weight, darkness, humour and playfulness than ever before." So is that reflected in 'Sophia'?
The delicate opening chords and the lyrics, which speak of a lover's betrayal and the aftermath of an unfulfilling one night stand ("Who's been touching my skin?/ Who have I been letting in?/ Shy and tired eyed am I today") sound bound up in the same rum, post-coital world of 'I Speak Because I Can'.
But very quickly, the track grows wings and flies out of the shadowy hinterlands of that album. Electric guitars, a string quartet and multi-tracked Lauras swoop in, suggesting a new sturdiness and defiance in the singer's outlook.
Soon after the track mutates into a kind of country-rock anthem. Jangly guitars hip-pop next to each other, whilst Marling's harmonies shimmer Linda Ronstadt-like all the while intoning the name of the song's heroine.
'Sophia' plunges into depths Marling's not gone to before and on repeated listens reveals itself to be a work of complex, risk-taking beauty.
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