Laura Marling: Alas I Cannot Swim

She may be just 18, but alt-folk songstress Laura Marling sounds like she s been meddling with melody and weaving her soft-but-powerful voice through it for years. Stripped-down opener Ghosts is a surprisingly mature and colourful imagination of past love

She may be just 18, but alt-folk songstress Laura Marling sounds like she's been meddling with melody and weaving her soft-but-powerful voice through it for years.

Stripped-down opener Ghosts is a surprisingly mature and colourful imagination of past loves revisited, attached to a briskly uplifting, finger-picked guitar melody and vocals strongly reminiscent of Suzanne Vega and early Joni Mitchell.

Her singing blossoms and takes the lead on later tracks, making for a confident, warm and universally appealing set.

While the album is of a generally high standard, the beautifully orchestrated The Captain And The Hourglass is a particular highlight. An impressive debut. 4/5