13 April, 2008


Eidolon is the Greek word for a spiritual double or phantom. I think it's an extremely pretty word, that conveys something transient and haunting, and slightly melancholy. The eighteen year old songstress Laura Marling is a personification of eidolon. She's a physically striking pale complexioned blond, who looks as if she should have been placed in a Jane Austen novel as the aristocratic girl with a somewhat dreamy personality and wispy romantic ideals. Those ideals are carefully expressed with her guitar and voice compositions that whisper and wander, but never stray far from the bittersweetness of young love. Laura's voice is haunting in its own way, especially with the echo effect that can be found on many of her songs.

Listen to her new extended play My Manic and I, and you can hear Marling's talent. "New Romantic" (video below) hits many high notes, with it's simple folk trappings and lyrical honesty. It's a raw song with the repeated lyrics: "I will never love a man, cause love and pain go hand in hand, and I can't do it again." Part of Laura's charm is in her ability to acknowledge her inexperience and uncertainty when it comes to love, and her ability to convey this without weakening the sentiment of her songs. She does this well in "Night Terror", which superbly creates the emotional intensity of a nightmare. The backing track is slightly cloying and suffocating, creating that urgent anxiety that typifies nightmares. The title track is rhythmically enchanting, and the lyrical refrain "...and I don't believe him..." is almost a mantra that propels the song forward. "Typical" hits its Regina Spektor-like stride with a laundry-list of disparate ideas that somehow form a coherent picture.

There are only four songs on the extended play, but each song has its own personality and especially beautiful traits. Consistently, Laura Marling demonstrates that age has little to do with ability or emotional depth and insight. My Manic and I is haunting, deep, and quite gorgeous, and it's taken me a month to find a word to describe it: eidolonic.

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