Laura Marling transports critics with 'sublime' live shows
Marling is fast emerging as one of folk's greats with her gothic Joni Mitchell infused tunes
What you need to know
Folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling continues her UK tour this week with two gigs in London. Marling first appeared on the music charts aged 17, and went on to win Best Female Solo Artist at the 2011 Brit Awards.
Her 2008 debut album Alas I Cannot Swim featured popular tracks Ghosts and New Romantic and was nominated for the 2008 Mercury Prize. Marling's fourth and most recent album is Once I Was An Eagle.
The singer appears at Shepherd's Bush Empire tonight (2 October) and York Hall, Bethnal Green, on 3 October before touring the US.
What the critics like
Marling has become a more mature and thoughtful artist, says Ed Power in the Daily Telegraph. Her songs explore standard twenty-something woes about the unfairness of life and love, but what sets her apart is how she uses these sentiments to create "huge gothic edifices that suggest the Brontë Sisters by way of Joni Mitchell".
Polite and polished on record, Marling's songs acquire more emotional intensity and punchy physicality live, says Stephen Dalton in The Times. The singer "surfs a rainbow spectrum of vocal affectations from tremulous English rose to husky blues busker to sultry Nashville siren". The results can be "sublime", he adds.
"It's hard to describe just how sharp and transporting Marling's voice is in person," says David Pollock in The Scotsman. It's a "timeless, rootsy sigh, which illustrates her evocative lyrics personally", and to hear it is to know you're in the presence of fast-emerging greatness.
What they don't like
Still, too much of Marling's show fits the singer-songwriter aesthetic of the late 1960s and early 1970s, with endless echoes of Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, says Stephen Dalton in The Times. "Her jingle-jangle mourning can certainly strum the heartstrings but it would benefit from a little more 21st-century eclecticism and a little less ancestor worship." ·