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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laura Marling - A ferocious talent produces more classic songwriting
The forward march of Laura Marling continues unabated and seems unstoppable. Her last album "I speak because I can" landed as a fully formed and assured work where comparisons to great singer songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Janis Ian and Laura Nyro were not only possible but also entirely appropriate. On "A Creature I don't know" her third album (and remember she is only...
Published on 12 Sep 2011 by Red on Black

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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Maturity? Fine, but where are the tunes ?
Maturity is a word you'll find in almost every review of anything Laura Marling does as though maturity alone is a guarantee of quality. funnily enough the same word is often used of thirty-something musicians, normally in a derogatory sense implying that the immature youthful exuberance made for a better listen. Of course the truth is that we need a balance of the two...
Published on 12 Sep 2011 by Chris G


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laura Marling - A ferocious talent produces more classic songwriting, 12 Sep 2011
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Creature I Don't Know (Audio CD)
The forward march of Laura Marling continues unabated and seems unstoppable. Her last album "I speak because I can" landed as a fully formed and assured work where comparisons to great singer songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Janis Ian and Laura Nyro were not only possible but also entirely appropriate. On "A Creature I don't know" her third album (and remember she is only 21) she produces an album full of different colours and moods ranging from jazzy hoedowns', to Spanish inflected acoustics and in "the Beast" a uber powerful electronic lament which P J Harvey would have been proud to write. Marling also develops the trend found in "I speak" to a much braver confessional style of lyrics and lays her heart bare in a number of the songs, with broken romance the central theme. All these factors add up to a heady mix and it is hardly surprising that her forthcoming "Cathedral" tour is the hottest ticket in town.

The album starts by Marling's standards in a musical mood of frivolity with "The Muse" and "I was just a card". The first is a jazzy whirl of banjo's and cello's where Marling warns "Don't you be scared of me/I'm nothing but the beast/And I'll call on you when I need to feast." The second takes as its template the sort of melodic pop balladry of vintage Joni Mitchell circa "Court and Spark". It has enough that is distinctive to set it aside from mere reverence and it is a sparkling start. Things slow perceptibly in the next track "Don't ask me why" which would have happily fitted on "I Speak" and the powerful John Steinbeck inspired "Salinas" where you detect that Marling has become a more polished and sultry singer with the passage of time. As stated above "the Beast" is a real point of departure. A pensive start leads to angry chords and lyrics which act as a counterpoint to the opener "The Muse" where Marling bitterly regrets "Where did our love go, you will never know/ How did you get home, you will never know". This is underpinned by a huge menacing electric backdrop and thunderous conclusion. Its angry denunciation may mark her best song to date and shows that along with Joni Mitchell the New York rock poet Patti Smith may be a new source of inspiration. It is therefore some relief to be followed by the stunningly beautiful and gentile "Night after Night" a sort of Leonard Cohen style love confessional and in its own way an equal highlight. The song "My friends" alternatively has those Jose Gonzalez rolling guitar runs but to these ears is possibly the track on the album that may require most listening effort.

The final three songs however seal the deal. The wistful "Rest in best" builds in a powerful surge with Marling accompanied by angelic backing vocals. The single "Sophia" shows her bold confidence with an almost spoken introduction where she almost taunts a former love (Marcus Mumford?) that "Where I've been lately is no concern of yours/ whose been touching my skin/who have I been letting/shy and tired-eyed am I today". It is brilliant and bold and deserves to be heaped with accolades as it stretches out at 3 minutes to a huge acoustic monster. Finally the album ends with the exuberant "All my rage" which shows that Marling is still great friends with Johnny Flynn on a song that has a joyous Sussex Wit folk quality underpinning.

Marling is often described a fierce talent and on "A Creature I don't know" which is her third album in three years and masterly produced by Ethan Johns she fully confirms that her incredible maturity as a singer songwriter goes well beyond the moment of a "nu folk" flash in the pan. She has emerged as our finest young writer and on the evidence of this new album currently can do no wrong.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful album - terrible vinyl pressing, 13 Sep 2011
By 
N. G. Hough "Bingo Master" (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Creature I Don't Know (Audio CD)
The music gets 5 stars. This is a really amazing album
However....I really don't appreciate paying £[] for a box set that includes a vinyl pressing of such appalling quality. The whole vinyl album has a sound running in the background that sounds like a distant airplane overlaid with insistent crackles and clicks. I'm sorry, just not good enough
The box set itself is an extraordinarily large box - odd in these environmentally conscious times - the download could have been the studio master but it isn't, shame
Still....5 stars for the wonderful music...I just expected the 'package' to do it justice
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A major step up, 3 Nov 2011
This review is from: A Creature I Don't Know (Audio CD)
Laura is a staggering talent who has already produced an impressive body of work at the age of 21. Her third album represents a major step up - she transcends her folk roots with a much more adventurous and tonally varied effort, from the jazzy opener The Muse to the awesome The Beast, one of the best rock songs in years. It's so exciting to think what she might do next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great album, 27 Jan 2013
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This review is from: A Creature I Don't Know (Audio CD)
This is a little darker than Laura Marling's other albums but still great. In it I hear traces of Leonard Cohen and Bert Jansch to name a few. I prefer her previous album to this one and I think it's too different to Alas I Cannot Swim to compare them. Nonetheless it's a good album.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marling the Magnificent, 12 Sep 2012
This review is from: A Creature I Don't Know (Audio CD)
Thoroughly enjoyed this album though the mood is a little dark it proved to be Marling's metier. Great arrangements of significant song-writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PURE Class, 24 Oct 2011
This review is from: A Creature I Don't Know (Audio CD)
Absolutely mesmerising! Listen, then listen again. The band she has surrounded herself with just seem to grow and grow. One day she will be appreciated as one of the greatest musicians The United Kindom has every offered.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good "regular" album, the bonus live CD makes it excellent value, 5 April 2012
By 
The Bogie Fan (West Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Creature I Don't Know (Audio CD)
I'd never heard of Laura Marling until about August 2011 when I saw her do "New Romantic" on a BBC4 TV acoustic compilation show.
After hearing that I got everything I could and went to see her at the Manchester Cathedral gig in October 2011, the extra CD with this limited edition is from the York Minster date on that tour.
The regular album itself is full of deep/funny/dark lyrics and the music is folk-tinged with a bit of an American influence - she sounds a bit like Dylan on a few tracks in her delivery but unlike Mr Zimmerman she's got a wonderful voice.
I actually prefer her first album but all three albums are essential imho so it's splitting hairs.
The live album, as might be expected, features songs from all three albums so i'd suggest anyone who'd like to buy one Laura Marling album to see what the fuss is about could do a lot worse than this 2cd set.
The gig at Manchester Cathedral was the most wonderful gig i've been to, she's an amazing singer and songwriter.
Buy it, buy the 2CD set, do it now!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest young talent in years, 8 Oct 2011
This review is from: A Creature I Don't Know (Audio CD)
I've only just caught up with Laura Marling but she just has to be the finest young talent to emerge in this country (or anywhere else) for many many years. Sophisticated complex songwriting that's downright jawdropping and melodies that almost bring you to tears. This album and its predecessor bear comparison with the very best of PJ Harvey, Emmylou Harris or Gillian Welch. Breathtaking! I'm 56. How can a 20 year old have such an impact on me? But she does. Like no one else on the planet right now. I'd thought Gillian Welch had produced the album of the year but I was wrong. This is it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extraordinary talent, beautiful album, 17 Sep 2011
By 
J. Robins (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Creature I Don't Know (Audio CD)
I have played this album over and over since I bought it a few days ago, and it grows ever more wonderful with each listening. I totally agree with the more considered reviews here - her talent is tremendous, and its an amazing achievement to have produced three such accomplished albums in such a short time. I am decades older than Laura Marling, but find her songs very moving. Discovering her feels like discovering Joni Mitchell a life-time ago. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Difficult Third Album?, 22 Sep 2011
By 
wolf (East Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Creature I Don't Know (Audio CD)
Laura Marling's first two albums marked her as one of the best new talents in British music. Her latest won't harm her reputation but won't greatly add to it either.

'A Creature I Don't Know' lacks the abundant charm and enthusiasm of 'Alas I Cannot Swim' and it lacks the dark, deep brooding longings of 'I Speak Because I Can'. But worst of all, too often it lacks the tunes. Too many of the tracks fail to cohere or gel. Much of the first half the album is interesting but, in the end, unsatisfying.

Marling experiments with an american accent (not wholly convincingly) on some of the tracks and the production is sometimes cranked up. The results sound a little like Catherine Feeny at times or even P J Harvey. It feels polished, but not authentically like Marling.

It is in the second half of the album that it suddenly picks up: 'My Friends', 'Sophia' and 'All My Rage' surge with the passion, conviction and simple songwriting ability that made Marling's first two albums such joys. It is as if she as rediscovered confidence in her own voice (both literally, because she sings in her own accent, and metaphorically, because these sound like her work, not the influences of others).

Marling was to have produced her third album at the end of 2010 but put it back, unsatisfied with what she had. That troubled birth shows in the end product, I suspect. Even off form, however, Laura Marling remains ceaselessly listenable to and one of our most promising talents.
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