Laura Marling, A Creature I Don’t Know

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 12.23.11 in Reviews
Always an old soul, Marling now belongs to the ages

Four years ago, Laura Marling sang on the brutally twee debut album by London folk-pop outfit Noah and the Whale, but she left before they got popular. Smart move. On her own, the English singer-songwriter won a Brit Award and scored two nods for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, all before age 21. Her third album is more guarded than its predecessors, but also more mature, and all the better for it. The ingenuous directness of songs like early track “New Romantic” is missed, but Marling makes up for it with brambly wisdom. Backed by a broader instrumental palette, Marling inhabits her folk-rock influences (Blue-era Joni Mitchell, early Leonard Cohen, acoustic Led Zeppelin) so fully she could be their contemporary. On “My Friends,” which distinctly resembles José González’s sinuous 2006 cover of the Knife’s “Heartbeats,” she actually sort of is. Always an old soul, Marling now belongs to the ages.