Having put in the groundwork on the live circuit, it's a relief that young, up-and-coming Reading songstress Marling is finally getting round to releasing some of her songs.
A more intense type of young female singer/songwriter, this 4-track EP is a collection of gentle acoustic numbers, containing some beautifully-written and interesting music. This isn't your quirky pop stuff, as Marling come across as someone to be taken seriously with an introspection and intensity lacking in some of her contemporaries.
The tracks compete bitterly with each other for title of standout. Perhaps the most immediate is New Romantic, a simple song with just Laura accompanying herself on guitar. An addictive gentle track, she details why she will never love again "cos love and pain go hand in hand". Night Terror is, as the title suggests, a little more sinister, with good use of strings and imagery complete with darkness, screaming and Shepherd's Bush Green. What could be scarier?
My Manic And I draws together a few of these threads as guitar, strings, piano and percussion give her a bigger sound, while still remaining intimate. EP closer Typical is a piano-led story of heartbreak with some more nice lyrical flourishes as she comes on like a cross between Billy Bragg and Tori Amos.
There is a sense of romanticism throughout. All songs have her straightforward acoustic sound, but all have their own distinct identities. The result is authentic, traditional but contemporary, and very impressive. If Marling is already creating music as good as this, things look promising.