Album Review: Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know

By on Tuesday, 20th September 2011 at 2:00 pm

By your third album, in most cases, you’re up and rolling. You’re past the difficult second album and you’ve found yourself. In most cases of course, by that point, you’re in your late twenties, if not thirties. Laura Marling is not most cases. With her first album released the same week as her eighteenth birthday, then going on to receive a Mercury nomination, and 3 years down the line winning a Brit award for Best Female, Marling has proved her exceptional credentials repeatedly.

So ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’, her third full LP, doesn’t need to take any risks then, does it? That’s convenient really, because Marling’s breed of folk with mainstream appeal isn’t really the kind of genre that experiments, breaks out or really takes huge risks. Lyrically, Marling has always been the kind of writer that writes in first person, yet you never really think that the person in question is actually her. Stories about the devil (or ‘The Beast’ as he appears to be named here, unless she’s talking about Marcus Mumford, but even by my reckoning, that’s a little harsh) and families seem lost in the fictitious world of Laura Marling. For this reason, it seems increasingly difficult to relate to her music.

The songs are good, there’s no doubt that this is a third album packed with brilliant tracks that will no doubt attract her more radio play, more listeners and more accolades, but from my perspective, I just don’t find her believable anymore, and that’s a real shame. ‘Salinas’ is the nearest you come to actually feeling something for Marling as John Steinbeck’s novels come alive in parts, but aside from the very last two tracks ‘Sophia’ single review here) and ‘All My Rage’, you feel like the twenty-one year old is still keeping her cards very much to her chest. For this reason, ‘Sophia’ is a standout track that swirls around with complete beauty whilst ‘All My Rage’ is a fitting closer: catchy, enjoyable and a kind of relief that an album both so bold and timid at the same time can end with a happy story.


Laura Marling’s ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’ is available now from Virgin.

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