There are many things that have already characterised 2017 as another particularly awful year, but the return of Laura Marling is certainly not one of them. While the beginning of this year may have brought with it a new, strongly-opposed US President and several debates regarding feminism and women’s rights, Marling has delivered some much-needed sunshine in the form of new single, ‘Wild Fire’. The track precedes her sixth album Semper Femina, an LP that sees Marling writing about women and “[her] great empathy towards them, and by proxy, towards [herself].”
The track is definitely more of a typical Marling number, with smooth, strummed guitars as a backdrop for her hypnotising vocals and as always, wonderfully articulate lyrics. It is much more of a laid-back offering when compared to the haunting style of previous single ‘Soothing’, but is actually a line of questioning in disguise. Marling poses several things within ‘Wild Fire’, notably that of identity and our perception of it. She asks, ‘Wouldn’t you die to know how you’re seen? / Are you getting away with who you’re trying to be?’. It is clear that Marling is not only questioning the view of women in today’s society, but also synthesising the obsessive thoughts we all experience of wishing we could see ourselves as others do, a preoccupation that is frequently limiting, particularly on the part of the female sex. She has previously stated that Semper Femina is all about society’s view of gender and sexuality, and ‘Wild Fire’ is a wonderful taster for the rest of the album’s palate.
As always, Marling’s tone and range is something to behold on this track, and its breezy, sumptuous melody lures listeners in to marvel on these issues along with her. It is a definitive example of a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ number, containing far more contemplative thoughts than you would originally expect when hearing a folk song of this nature. Coupling ‘Wild Fire’ with ‘Soothing’, it is clear that her sixth offering will be a truly diverse and wonderful collection, and it sounds like a very strong one at that.
[Originally written for Redbrick Music]
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Image credit: The Guardian