So last night I was lucky enough to be at Laura Marling‘s Christmas session at Shoreditch House. By the time she comes on, the fairy light lit heated roof garden is the fullest it’s probably ever been as waiters and waitresses struggle to get pizzas and cocktails through the crowd.
After introducing herself she launches into a new song (artists often use these opportunities to showcase new material to a small audience) that is about ten minutes long but maintains the crowd before her’s attention for the duration. Everyone is enraptured by her unique voice and endearingly honest lyrics. Stylistically the songs are quite similar to those on her last album A Creature I Don’t Know rather than the more traditional folk musings found on I Speak Because I Can whilst one can never really compare her latest material to her first album which was written when she was in her mid to late teens, Alas, I Cannot Swim. Whilst it was a lovely album, her songwriting skills have developed and matured significantly since then.
She then plays a few more new songs which are just as promising as the first one yet a little shorter before she treats the audience to one they might be familiar with, ‘Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)’ which fits the festive occasion well. After exiting the stage, for perhaps the first time ever she does an encore as she “had nowhere else to go” and would have had to cross the stage to exit it anyway which would have been even more awkward. Despite forgetting the words to begin with as it’s been a while since she’s played it, she performs a glorious version of ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’, the ‘secret’ track from her first album.
This short session left me dying to hear the full length forthcoming album which is set for release early next year. It’s going to be pretty impressive, I have no doubt about it.
Words: Katie Wilkinson