The pretty folk pop of Laura Marling is set to take the world by storm, and she’s not even old enough to buy a pint. But it’s not about the age. “Age is just a gimmick. They don’t realise that I’ve had to grow up shit loads in the last few years,” she says as she takes a break from her busy schedule, playing around the country and supporting The Maccabees.
It’s old hat to 17-year-old Marling, who’s already opened for Rufus Wainwright. “I was terrified. He would be standing right next to me, but I was too scared to talk to him.” It shows the innocence pouring out of her new and second EP, ‘My Manic & I’ – a collection of four songs which trounces all over her teen contemporaries making waves in the indie scene. Playing guitar since the age of three has given her a real musical talent, but the beauty is in her song writing.
I don’t even read the papers
Folky and sweet, with an understated, innocent voice straight from ‘60’s solo songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, with a twinge of Sandy Denny and the personal touch of Tori Amos; her songs are intimate and moving. ‘New Romantic’, a bitter-sweet love song with a pinch of teenaged angst, is just a girl singing to herself in a dark, damp basement, yet it will warm the hearts of many an ageing muso disillusioned by today’s glottal stopped whingers.
As will the title track, a dark tale accompanied by guitar, accordion, a lone violin and an immature rattlesnake of percussion, borne from seeing the same two pictures hanging in many a dreary Travel Lodge.
Marling, hailing from a small town outside Reading, has been gigging in London since 14, starting with a regular slot at a “grimy football club bar” in Brentford. She never played in the comfort of home, always venturing to somewhere new where she could be herself. And she doesn’t bog herself down with the evils of modern music, not even owning a television or radio.
“I haven’t even noticed the buzz around me. I don’t even read the papers. I just enjoy gigging, going to the cinema and being with friends. And I’ve got shit loads of CDs, but I always steer clear of pop music. People say things like I’m going to be the next Lily Allen, but that just scares the crap out of me,” she says nervously. “Since school, I’ve just kept myself to myself and that’s helped me concentrate on playing. My songs are from interesting conversations or things I’ve seen, but I keep that barrier up; I’m not in to giving people a therapy session and I don’t care about making millions.”
Age is just a gimmick. They don’t realise that I’ve had to grow up shit loads in the last few years
“I don’t listen to or play things that would fit on the radio. I’m more into American anti-folk with a genuine voice. I’ve always listened to Dylan, James Taylor and Janis Joplin and love Ryan Adams. It feels comfortable.”
But despite having one foot firmly in the pop folk puddle, Marling admits she’d like nothing more than to make a punk album. She tried it once, with friend and producer Charlie Fink of Noah and the Whale, but it “just sounded pretentious” and she went back to the safety of her acoustic guitar.
A wise move, leaving room for plenty more of this enchanting sweetness.