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A Creature I Don’t Know

October 28, 2011

I think I have expressed my love of Laura Marling before, but I don’t think I’ve ever written a post purely about her. This is now to be amended. Her third album, A Creature I Don’t Know was released a few weeks ago and as expected, it did not disappoint. Her music is maturing as she does and this album shows yet another clear development in her sound and songwriting style. Everything she does flows as a  logical progression. Basically I love it, but I expected nothing less.

It is therefore with great excitement that I approached Winchester Cathedral last Saturday. For Laura’s tour of this album is hitting cathedrals around the country and my lovely Mumma had got tickets for us and my sister for the Winchester date, as early birthday presents for the both of us. The cathedral was beautiful, I’ve admired it from the outside a few times, but never actually been inside. It apparently boasts the longest nave in Europe and houses the bodies of Jane Austen and King Kanute. It also doesn’t have much by way of a spire, but I’ll let it off.

After taking our pew and laughing at the sweet but god-awfully-rah girls behind us,  The Leisure Society took to the stage (well, I say stage, it was more of a sectioned off area in front of the rood screen). I have their first album lurking in the confines of my laptop, so it was nice to be familiar with some their songs already. They warmed up for Laura nicely, fitting  well into the cathedral setting and they did a smashing cover of Erasure’s ‘Respect’ which made me and my sister giggle as its her karoake song of choice.  I shall be listening to them more as a result.

Then came the wait for the Laura, in which I bought a t shirt and laughed some more at the Rah girls, who perhaps should have reconsidered their topics of conversation, seeing as we were in a place of worship (neither I nor my mother wish to know who fingered your mate…)

When Laura arrived she launched straight into the delicate ‘I Was Just A Card’, which immediately showcased her beautiful voice as it drifted in to the corners of the cathedral. From there she zigzagged through ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’ along with a couple of songs from each of her previous albums and a couple of new songs. The band were excellent, filling the space with sound without overpowering Laura’s vocals. However she was at her best when alone on the stage with her guitar, the rawness of songs such as ‘Night after Night’ and ‘Failure’ brilliantly juxtaposed against the lavish backdrop of the cathedral. The band returned for the last section of the set and the night ended with ‘All My Rage’, that voice soaring to the vaults.

Laura herself was as charming as ever, I’ve seen her tour all three of her albums and she has become more confident each time. She is the first to point out that she’s better at music than chat, but her shy ‘hello’ and ritual explanation that they ‘aren’t cool enough to do encores’ are endearing rather than feeling like a brush off. In saying little she grasps the audience more than perhaps a more verbose contemporary could.

I shall stop gushing now, every time I see Laura I am left in awe and this was no different. This hasn’t been a gig filled year for me, but they have definitely been quality over quantity.

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