This album deals with femininity in a nuanced and honest manner, with Marling never hiding behind a façade of characters or dealing in over-familiar observations. Few songwriters, let alone any still in their mid-20s, are able to illuminate such complex material with this degree of insight and personal experience.
It all adds up to the most serene, stylistically varied album Marling has ever created – and that’s surely the point.
In these songs, Marling looks at womanhood and female relationships from various angles and distances, giving the gray areas of these roles and intimacies plenty of breathing room. The result is a record of great affection and fluidity.
When pondering gets this skilled, and this fruitful, the dividends far outweigh the misgivings.
Like a great folksinger, she has created an album of songs whose sounds and sentiments are much weightier than they appear on the surface, providing entry to somewhere much more wondrous and strange and troubling than it first appears.
While Marling's lyrics come across as powerful and worldly, it's the conversational tone that makes Semper Femina work so well ... United with the strongest set of songs of her career, she has reached a new peak in a career full of them.
With Eagle already standing as one of the peaks of modern folk music, we would not necessarily have expected to hear another knockout record from her, but there’s no denying Semper Femina stands toe-to-toe with her opus.
‘Semper Femina’ matches Laura Marling’s personal quest to unlock facets of her identity echoing with the wider struggle to clear a space for the feminine voice within society itself. With a triumphant new album it seems that this songwriter has found a room of her own.
It is a strong, elegant, and self-assured album that, in its creative arrangements and lyrical world building, contains remarkable complexity and depth in terms of both skill and concept.
She sharpens and delves deeper into her already superb songwriting abilities. Vocally she continues to mature and explore what her voice is capable of.
Having entered the limelight early, the 27-year-old singer/songwriter has now settled into a comfortable groove to on this finely honed career highlight.
Semper Femina is powerful display of Marling's craft and, the album's driving force, love.
At the heart of ‘Semper Femina’s reversed pronouns, dream-dredged imagery, and darker sonic core, Laura Marling crafts yet another hard-to-pin, experimental, statement.
She takes her steps up the creative ladder so subtly that it’s difficult to discern the depth of them until you’ve really delved into whichever record is her latest; her development as a writer usually ends up manifesting itself in every song, in different ways but always quietly.
Semper Femina is a concise, dynamic statement from the English singer-songwriter, mixing breezy 70’s country-rock melodies with claustrophobic, fingerpicking folk, often on the same song.
Semper Femina continues her decade-long hot streak with another collection of finely wrought vignettes on love, loss, and the empowerment that can be found in both.
There's always more to Marling than the uninitiated might hear at first, and Semper Femina is yet another astounding testament to her talent and the multitudes therein.
There’s ... something punchy and confident about Semper Femina as a whole, an album that’s as big on telling details as it is on big ideas.
It’s an album that broaches a step along the tentatively expanding path for songwriting by women, for women.
With Semper Femina, Laura Marling uses a broad study of femininity to explore complex relationships between women. The album is filled with beautiful observations on the psychology of friendship.
It's a timely set, especially for a Brit who makes the U.S. a part-time home. You can hear the double-life: Nick Drake ghosts "The Valley," while Joni Mitchell remains a touchstone ("Nouel").
An album that seeks to push folk's innate naturalism into an even more progressive space, eschewing any trace of outmoded roles and stereotypes.
Laura Marling is a stupendous talent, don’t get me wrong, and if you’re a fan of that voice then you’ll love this record. ... But I don’t buy that it’s any more than a very good album dashed off on a tour bus, by someone with more energy than her talent can contain.