Monday, February 04, 2008

The wave of young talent never quite stops-- just last entry I was saying what great acts the UK fosters, and now I bring you 17 year old Laura Marling, an ethereal singer/songwriter whose voice and lyrics are well beyond her tender years. Often described as part of the "alt-folk" genre (a description I find vague and often unattractive), Marling's songs are well-crafted and sharp, often containing contradicting elements and ending up at one end whimsical while retaining a stark, serious quality that is almost haunting. Think early Joni Mitchell, with the blonde hair to match.

Marling may seem to be facing a challenge within the current musical climate-- consider that she's coming out of a pop-centric group of bass and synth-heavy youngsters like Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse, and you'll understand what I mean. However, Marling is obviously on a different trajectory, one whose success may very well rely on those very challenges which in any other circumstances might hinder her. Veering away from the twee, Marling pens lyrics like "I jump into your grave and die / and on my word you'll give up your whole life for me/ and you'll be reborn, bigger and stronger/ and less alive" and places them atop what is clearly her poppiest number, a song called "Cross Your Fingers", which, while it may be her most upbeat number, still comes nowhere close to cheesy or over-produced.

Marling's independently released debut album, Alas I Cannot Swim, will be released in the UK on 11 February and can be purchased from, among other places.

Laura Marling - New Romantic
Laura Marling - Cross Your Fingers