Following Amy Winehouse’s breakout year in 2007, this year other young U.K. singers like Duffy and Estelle received plenty of attention in the U.S. Flying a bit more under the radar has been Laura Marling, an 18-year-old British folk singer whose debut album, “Alas, I Cannot Swim,” is one of my favorite albums of the year.
Despite Marling’s age, she has nothing in common with the Britneys and Christinas clogging the pop chart. Marling comes across as an old soul, steeped in both 1960s folk and today’s sharp-tongued indie rock.
And oh, what a voice Marling has. I’m a sucker for a British accent, but that’s not all Marling has going for her. Her voice is crisp and full-bodied yet often trails off in whisps of introverted alienation. She probably could be a jazz singer if she didn’t have so much on her mind.
Below is the video for Marling’s “New Romantic,” which is one of my favorite songs of the year. For some reason, “New Romantic” wasn’t included on “Alas, I Cannot Swim,” so be sure to download the song if you end up picking up the album.
Also check out Marling’s MySpace page.