This year’s Mercury Prize in the UK was given to Elbow‘s The Seldom Seen Kid (Geffen Records, 2008). While it is a fine album who’s flourishes grow subtly over time, it failed to immerse the listener as the melodious music of Laura Marling does. Laura is a young folk singer-songwriter from Hampshire, England, often supporting (and member of) co-British folk group Noah And The Whale and frequently featured lending her support on their album, as well as guest spots on other albums including the last Mystery Jets, Twenty One. Prior to her new, critically-acclaimed debut, Alas I Cannot Swim (Virgin Records, 2008), a single roused the UK music press entitled New Romantic that forms the bookend of the EP My Manic and I (Virgin Records, 2008).[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNxar07_9YA&hl=en&fs=1] Track 1: New Romantic
Thoughtful, crafted folk seems to come effortlessly to the 18 year old singer-songwriter. An entanglement between love and sorrow weave throughout the lyrics, tugging towards tranquility of a soul while being beckoned towards a beguiling labyrinth of uncertainty or safety. She unhesitatingly opens the shutters on these tales, “And I’m sorry to whichever man should meet my sorry state, watch my steady lonesome gait and beware, I would never love a man ’cause love and pain go hand in hand, and I can’t do it again.” Night Terror, the second track, is remains the darkest musically even if it does come before My Manic and I. The latter a story of despondency, accentuated instrumentally to clear the darkened clouds as it progresses, the Bryter Layter to Pink Moon. The song’s structure and production hinting towards what Alas… musically achieved.
Typical is a gorgeous track accompanied by a solitary piano. A simple sentimental melody serving as the support over her vocals. “And I’ll keep on going I’ve got nothing to lose, and I gave up morals when I took up you…” The finale ends, serving as the other bookend which started with a singer with her guitar and ends with a piano and its singer. The EP rests on that shelf, a prologue her debut, that promises future additions that will only grow in maturity and mastery of folk.
- Laura is currently touring North America until early October, click for dates.
- Also a different version of Night Terror is on her debut along with My Manic And I.
- Wall Street Journal’s music critic, Jim Fusilli, featured her in this weekend’s Arts & Entertainment edition, entitled A Modern English Rose.