Semper Femina

The translation of the saying varium et mutabile semper femina is “woman is ever a fickle and changeable thing.” It’s a fitting sentiment for Laura Marling, a woman who exudes a palpable, resonant strength and has taken ample lyrical space to discuss the independent spirit of a woman. The British songwriter lived only briefly in L.A. before moving back to London, yet for Semper Femina she teamed up with L.A. producer Blake Mills to create one of her most beautiful albums yet. Though still sonically consistent with Marling’s previous work, Mills’ production complements her style with subtle expansions. For instance, Mills’ presence is clearly felt on “Don’t Pass Me By,” with its delicate tremolo-laden hooks paired with clean, broad strings. Or the more contemporary pop styling of “Wild Fire,” with its reverb-y drums and smooth Rhodes piano tone. Again, the shifts are subtle, songs like “Wild Once” are soft, with simple finger-picking cradling Marling’s pure and prominent voice. Even with Mills’ additions, Marling seems very much at the creative helm, which comes as no surprise.