★★★☆

Laura Marling’s latest beautiful collection of folk musings is perfect for rainy day listening, but don’t be fooled by the floaty nature of her tunes – the songs are layered with meaning.

The title, Semper Femina, means ‘always a woman’, and thus Marling’s songs explore feminine identity through relationships, youth, failure and seeking freedom.

The album opens with ‘Soothing’, a sultry and sensual track with a bassline akin to The Beatles’ ‘Come Together’. There is certainly a jazz element that crops up in some tracks on Semper Femina, but for the most part, listeners will be familiar with the stripped-back, delicate vocals that Marling is known for.

We get an insight into how Marling approaches relationships in ‘Next Time’, which focuses on failure and ending a relationship, promising to be “better next time”. Meanwhile, ‘Wild Fire’ beautifully examines things from the other side, advising a partner to be kinder.

‘Always This Way’ feels like home with its warm melodies, and ‘Never, Not Nearly’ is a gorgeous ode to the importance of love, especially noticeable once it’s gone.

Semper Femina is a gentle exploration of feminine identity through storytelling, and Marling’s talent lies in softly but surely getting her message across.

Semper Feminais out Friday March 10 through Kobalt.

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