Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Marika Hackman | Lincoln Hall | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Laura Marling

Laura Marling

Courtesy the artist

Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Marika Hackman 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Sold Out (Music) Soundboard

When: Wed., July 29, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: sold out
The music of British singer-songwriter Laura Marling seemed almost fully developed on her 2008 debut, Alas, I Cannot Swim, an album she released at the age of 18, but somehow her sound has still grown in leaps and bounds since then. She’s accrued confidence and range to go with her smarts and deep curiosity, and on her recently released fifth album, Short Movie (Ribbon Music), she pushes aside the folk settings of her previous works for an electric attack that adds richness without smothering her voice. On her powerful 2013 album Once I Was an Eagle she chronicles a painful breakup, and while clearly she’s moved on with the new record, she still meditates on what it means to be alone and in need of companionship—though she never shows weakness. On “Warrior” she uses an equine metaphor to explain how she shakes off a needy, one-way lover; on “I Feel Your Love” the narrator finds herself suffocated by a love in which adoration has become control (or “an electric fence,” as she calls it). Marling openly questions affection on “Don’t Let Me Bring You Down,” portraying it as “some kind of trickery,” and on “False Hope,” one of the album’s hardest-charging songs, she asks, “Well is it still OK that I don’t know how to be alone?” Her gorgeous voice toggles between talk-singing voiced in rhythmic, swooping cadences and full-bodied melodies somewhat redolent of Joni Mitchell yet all Marling’s own. Her scrappy band lends power and dynamics, shadowing but never clouding over that glorious voice. —Peter Margasak

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