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Laura Marling 

A Creature I Don’t Know (Virgin)

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Too often, people hyperbolize, misusing the phrase “mature beyond their years”. But Laura Marling is what that idiom, distilled, sounds like: at 18, she released Alas I Cannot Swim, 12 pitch-perfect songs of true love lost. Now, wizened (relatively speaking) at 21, her third album A Creature I Don’t Know finds a more assertive voice singing triumphant shanties while confidently making a guitar’s spare brackets all her own. If you’re not listening to Laura Marling, you’re doing yourself a disservice. She---this generation’s Leonard Cohen---is among the few who writes songs that make your heart break and sing at the same time. (And that’s no hyperbole.)

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