[13] Laura Marling, ‘Where Can I Go?’

2013-laura-marling

Junior laughs at the opening “I was a daddy’s girl…” She’s got theories about our family – Junior 2 is the daddy’s girl, Junior 3 is mummy’s all mummy’s, and she’s there for both of us. Or just ambivalent. She’s not impressed with how hushed Laura Marling is as this begins, but enjoys the song getting sturdier in increments as the first fruits of Marling’s fourth album show her getting more confident as they unfold, over just a few short minutes.

Marling refuseniks hear nothing more than a folk singer delicately plucking her acoustic over album after album – and possibly with a funny accent – but Once I Was An Eagle genuinely sounded different. I find her bluesier now, more soulful too, nearer to Van Morrison than Bob Dylan (although there’s plenty of Dylan in the latest album, occasionally knowing too). Actually, Marling could be the new Maria McKee, blending rock and soul with intriguing songwriting depth. And she’s still only 16.

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[10] Emeli Sandé, ‘Heaven’

Emeli Sandé

“Will you recognise ME?” Sure. You’re that Shara Nelson, aren’t you?

Bit of satire there, ladeezangennelmen. Junior seems to know all the words to this one already – which is more than we can say about ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ because I never play it, having absolutely KILLED it in 1991. It left a grimy fingerprint on the stereo along with Screamadelica, Eg & Alice’s ‘Indian’, Jesus Loves You’s ‘Bow Down Mister’ and Jellyfish’s Bellybutton. And, let’s face facts, The Milltown Brothers’ debut album.

Junior asks if she’s English, obviously, but of course Sandé couldn’t be less English if she was Neptunian. She’s Scottish and let’s say that she caresses ‘Heaven’ with that peculiar Scots soul passion, ranking alongside Sharleen Spiteri, Lorraine McIntosh, Marti Pellow, Pat Kane, Lulu and, er, Maria McKee. On firmer ground, the beats are terrific and the strings – ahem – sympathetic. That Critics’ Choice BRIT will look lovely in her palm.