I can say without a shred of hyperbole that, at just 23, Laura Marling is already exhibiting the assurance of Carole King and Joni Mitchell in their pomp. Here she leads her brand of contemporary folk down wonderfully unexpected paths, bestowing 16 acoustic buds upon us that unfurl with each listen; their ornate chord structures rising and falling in sumptuous cadences around which Marling wraps her sinuous, graceful vocal lines.

At 16 tracks, it’s sweet in the vein of Newsom or Apple, but its nuances mean that it never feels long. Whether it’s the menacing blues of ‘When Were You Happy’, the irrepressible, electric organ-toting roots rock on lead single ‘Where Can I Go?’ or the Led Zep neo-folk of ‘Breathe’, there’s enough to hold even the most wandering of attentions. Simply put, Laura Marling’s precocious star shines brighter than ever on this record and if the popular penchant were still set for folk, ‘Once I Was An Eagle’ would cement her superstardom.

More from