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Laura Marling

Once I Was An Eagle

Laura Marling
8
It's hard to think of an artist that has shown as much musical growth in as short a time, but on her fourth album in five years, Laura Marling has proved that she is a force to be reckoned with. For the first time, Marling eschewed collaborating with a band, in favour of an intimate working relationship with long-time studio partner Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon). His handiwork is heard right off the bat, having trimmed down opener "Take the Night Off" from its once 20 minutes. Marling's guitar work and vocals are still given opportunity to meander, with a handful of tracks exceeding five minutes and a total run time of an hour, but it never feels too long. Embracing and building on the Americana that blew listeners away on 2011's A Creature I Don't Know, the 23-year-old also moves in new directions with Indian influences — sitar permeates songs like "I Was An Eagle," "Devil's Resting Place" and closer "Saved These Words." The Dylan-esque "Where Can I Go?" is a standout, along with fierce, pounding lead single "Master Hunter." Now residing in California, Marling is scarcely recognizable from the baby-faced British nu-folker that emerged with Noah and the Whale, alongside the likes of Mumford & Sons. While her peers may be filling arenas with banjo anthems, Marling has long freed herself from that particular pigeonhole and presents another collection of songs that showcases her astounding talent. (Ribbon)

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