It’s been ten years since Laura Marling recorded her debut album, ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’, and what a ride she’s been on since then. Now 27, Marling has evolved from a Joni Mitchell-alike to her own being, and the road she’s taken to get there has seen six full-length studio albums, the latest of which being the glorious ‘Semper Femina’.
It was only natural for Marling to incorporate her vast discography, which has spanned a decade, into her set at The Roundhouse in London, the right mix to fill her 17-track setlist. Her ability to use such a broad spectrum made this an absolute delight for fans old and new.
As her head tilts back in the manner she’s famous for as she gets lost in her guitar solo interludes, you too get lost in the swirling acoustics from her and the band, her smooth vocals, and the pure atmosphere of all eyes being on Marling. Her opener ‘Soothing’, also conveniently the opening track on ‘Semper Femina’, lures us in with its seductive bassline for a night of her career through the ages.
Her chat is now lined up with the surety of her performance, which just gives the whole event that special little touch. In a setlist dominated by ‘Semper Femina’, we get a taste of her older material to complement the maturity of her newer release. You can see her personal fondness with ‘I Speak Because I Can’, otherwise known as her sophomore album, as the sharp adolescent thorns that are ‘What He Wrote’ and ‘I Speak Because I Can’ perfectly surround the rose that is ‘Nouel’ in her solo acoustic segue.
She knows how to please her fans, dotting some favourites throughout the latter half of the set before ending on the rousing ‘Rambling Man’ to end on a high with her usual phrase “If you want an encore, then this is the last song, if you don’t want an encore, then this is the last but one song.” But the real pleasure of her Roundhouse performance was seeing her perform the amazing album that is ‘Semper Femina’, and maybe in ten years’ time, she will be surprising us with a whole new sound.