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Laura Marling


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Folk-influenced alternative pop

Status:

Most recent release, Semper Femina (2017)

See also:

Laura Marling's Official site

Wikipedia's entry on Laura Marling

Comparisons:

A less electronic Beth Orton; Fiona Apple if she sang folk; Sandy Denny, Kirsty MacColl

Covers/own material:

Own material

General comments:

Among the better of the debuting British female singer-songwriters this year. Definitely one to watch. (lotterose @ gmail . com)

Comments about live performance:

The punchline to this extremely shaggy dog story is that she was very, very good. Excellent, even.
     Frail and slight, practically elfin, she looks about 12. Not a lot of stagecraft, eyes lowered as she sings and plays an amazingly decent acoustic guitar, and her voice even stronger than on the CD. A strange, haunting, delicate kind of strength it is, like a finely wrought steel latticework, spiralling upwards. She had a full band behind her, a talented bunch, plus a string section, and while the sound was sometimes muddied by the bad acoustics, her voice shone through, and the arrangements pulled it forward. I was won over, no doubt about it, even in my grouchy, cynical mood. She only played for about 45 minutes, threw in a couple of new songs not on the album, and kept banter to a minimum. When she did speak, it was diffident and good humoured, but she was obviously nervous.
     So, that's the full-fat version. It you're into folk, or folk-pop, or Nu Folk or whatever they're calling it, I recommend her highly. Buy the album and, if you can see her, take a chance. Despite my reservations, she delivers the goods. (6/08, adamk@zoom.co.uk)

Saw her in New York (summer 2008) after having read a bit about her but only being familiar with a few songs. Stage presence was limited (she didn't talk much between songs and was rather introspective while singing, not really performing *to* the crowd) but the set was fun, and I enjoyed it. It was also nice to see her open up and become more engaging as the evening went on. I'd go see her again. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Recommended first album:

Alas I Cannot Swim

Recordings:


My Manic and I

Release info:

2008

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

I love this EP. It's the Laura Marling recording I listen to most (it's also the first one I bought; I got both full-length albums a couple of years later). The two new songs ("New Romantic" and "Typical") fit really well with the ones from Alas I Cannot Swim ("Night Terror" and "My Manic and I"), creating a mood that, for me, is just right. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Alas I Cannot Swim

Release info:

2008—Virgin—CDVY3040

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Laura Marling—vocals, acoustic guitar

Guest artists:

Charlie Fink
Marcus Mumford
Tom Hobden
Emily Dreyfus
Emily Thomas
Guy Katsaw
Jesse Quin
Johnny Coates
Laura Dickson
Lotte Johnson
Nick Murray
Rob Greenwood
Winston Marshall

Produced by:

Charlie Fink

Comments:

There are many heavily-hyped young singer-songwriters coming out of England this year, but Laura Marling is one of the best. Her debut is intelligent, tuneful, and modern without being overly trendy (see: certain other heavily-hyped young singer-songwriters coming out of England this year.) Laura's voice is quite pleasant; at times, she sounds like a younger Beth Orton. Her songs are remarkably mature considering her age, and I'm still noticing little details of production in the songs themselves. Standout tracks are "My Manic And I" and "Night Terror." One of the best albums of the year. (lotterose @ gmail . com)

Her debut, Alas I cannot Swim is actually very good, though I like it more than I love it, and it has to be admitted that at 18 years old, it's stunningly mature music and she's got a hell of a delivery (think traditional Brit folkie, a more deadpan Sandy Denny/Kirsty MacColl, although I'm open to better comparisons). One of the best albums of the year. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)

One of the best albums of the year. (christina_skov@hotmail.com, cjmacs@micronet.net)


I Speak Because I Can

Release info:

2010—Virgin Records—CDVY3075

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Laura Marling

Guest artists:

Ruth De Turberville
Ted Dwane
Tom Hobden
Ethan Johns
Winston Marshall
Marcus Mumford
Pete Roe

Produced by:

Ethan Johns

Comments:

Strikingly lovely. Even more mature and interesting than her debut. (JoAnn Whetsell)

I loved her very promising debut, but this feels like a regression, a college sophomore coffee-house strummer who's been listening to way too much Nick Drake. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)

One of the best albums of the year. (gordoja@optonline.net, Marion)


A Creature I Don't Know

Release info:

2011—Virgin

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Comments:

Another year, another inscrutable title from Ms Marling, and another album that can best be described as "promising". Last time she'd been listening to too much Nick Drake, this time it's Joni Mitchell. She indulges in some awful lyrics ("I was just a card/caught up in the stars/Looking down on Mars"), an inexplicable American accent and some coolly detached singing before ending with the fantastic but all-too-late "All My Rage". I'd welcome some more grit and passion, on the whole. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)

All of Laura Marling's albums seem to grow on me slowly, and her latest is no exception. But it is growing on me, and I like it more with each listen. Especially the sections that are less introspective singer-songwriter and more of a full band. Check out "Salinas" and "All My Rage." (JoAnn Whetsell)


Once I Was an Eagle

Release info:

2013—Ribbon Music—RBN031

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Laura Marling

Guest artists:

Ethan Johns
Ruth de Turberville
Rex Horan

Produced by:

Ethan Johns; additional production by Dom Monks

Comments:

The Laura Marling of Alas I Cannot Swim is all grown up *and she will kill you*. The most startling album, for sure, from a character perspective. (omg.its.a.female @ gmail.com)

Well, another album, another pretentious title and another...well, another Laura Marling album. I'm given to understand, from the reviews, that this is her best album, and I'm happy to accept this but, after following her from the start and buying and listening intensely to all her albums, I think this is where we part company. I'm just not getting it, and find her musings, while articulate, soporific and somewhat dreary. There are none of the lyrical disasters that cropped up in her previous releases, but the last time I gave this one a spin I got so weary of it halfway through that I switched over to some Led Zeppelin to get the blood flowing again. Intelligent, yes; heartfelt, more than likely, but to me it sounds just like her last two albums, sometimes good, sometimes college-coffee-house generic, with the one energetic track ("Master Hunter" on this one, "All My Rage" on the last one, "Devil's Spoke" on the one before that) to liven things up. I can't believe I feel this way, and am disappointed — I saw her on tour for the first album, and was impressed—but I'm just not feeling the love. Individual mileage may vary, of course. (adamk@zoom.co.uk)

Well tastes differ really. Laura Marling's new album Once I Was an Eagle is for me the most interesting, thrilling, poetical album I had the honour to listen to for a very long time. Laura's music speaks to my soul as no other artist's. It's so nice to hear intelligent texts, so rare these days, especially in mainstream media. (bohe99 @ gmail.com)

Laura Marling's first album is my least favorite, and my favorite is I Speak Because I Can. Her latest, Once I Was an Eagle is also excellent, and in the same vein. The first half of the album showcases clear Indian influences, most likely developed when she worked with The Dharohar Project and Mumford & Sons on a 2010 EP. There's also flamenco influence in "Little Love Caster." I love hearing her stretch herself like this. And I love the way Laura smolders, ratcheting up the intensity, but never quite fully letting loose. Maybe a song or two could have been cut from the second half, but overall it's brilliant. (JoAnn Whetsell)

The ever-enigmatic Laura Marling. It's clear that after the wonderful A Creature I Don't Know there had to be another incoherent inaccessible mess. Even worse than I Speak Because I Can. (raschee@gmail.com)


Short Movie

Release info:

2015—Ribbon—RBN048CD

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Laura Marling

Guest artists:

Matt Ingram
Ruth de Turberville
Nick Pini
Tom Hobden

Produced by:

Laura Marling; co-produced by Matt Ingram and Dan Cox

Comments:

Another excellent album. The big story was that Laura went electric for this album (electric guitar, that is). But the biggest difference between this and her previous work seems to me to be a kind of directness in the songwriting and arrangements. It's not heavy hitting, but it seems to place Laura exactly where she wants to be. Once I Was An Eagle smoldered in places, as if she weren't quite letting it all out, while on Short Movie she seems to be at full force. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of the year. (raschee@gmail.com)


Further info:

Collaborations include:

  • "Young Love" with Mystery Jets on their album Twenty One (2008)
  • "The Water" with Johnny Flynn on his album Been Listening (2010)
  • The Dharohar Project, Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons EP (2010) which contains a new version of her song "Devil's Spoke"

Beans On Toast's song "I Fancy Laura Marling" appears on their album Standing on a Chair (2009) and on the compilation Xtra Mile High Club, Vol. 2 (2010).


Thanks to Sarah Morayati and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2017-04-09 18:59:26.
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