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Alas I Cannot Swim [Import]

Laura MarlingAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 12 Songs, 2011 $9.99  
Audio CD, Import, 2008 $12.11  
Audio CD, Import, 2008 --  
Vinyl, 2012 $19.79  

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Image of album by Laura Marling


Image of Laura Marling


At the tail-end of the Summer, just before work began on her second album, Laura Marling sat down with producer Ethan Johns to discuss her ambitions for the record. She gave Johns just two instructions: "This is very much my stepping stone," she told him. "And this is England."
I Speak Because I Can is indeed a coming of age, its 10 songs imbued with a richness and a ... Read more in Amazon's Laura Marling Store

Visit Amazon's Laura Marling Store
for 5 albums, 17 photos, discussions, and more.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 12, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Phantom Sound & Vision
  • ASIN: B0012JQCPU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,097 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Ghosts
2. Old Stone
3. Tap at My Window
4. Failure
5. You're No God
6. Cross Your Fingers
7. Crawled out of the Sea (Interlude)
8. My Manic and I
9. Night Terror
10. The Captain and the Hourglass
11. Shine
12. Your Only Doll (Dora)

Editorial Reviews

Reading-based songstress Laura Marling has been likened to veteran folksters Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez. Despite such hyperbolic accolades, her entry into the crowded world of young female singer-songwriters has been remarkably hushed and wonderfully organic. Having started writing songs at the age of 15, Marling's success has been achieved not by shouting, but by whispering her way through the ranks. Perhaps because of her youth--she turned 18 just before releasing this Alas, I Cannot Swim--Marling has an understated yet accomplished manner that just doesn't grate like some of her peers. Plus her songs are good--very good. Backed by imaginative arrangements from leftfield acoustic outfit Noah and the Whale, the tracks here are often coyly charming, though far from naïve. Marling digs impressively deep into all kinds of universal topics, from religion and parents to love and romance. Lead single "Ghosts" introduced to many her soft, alluring vocal style, and other songs here share the same sense of intimacy, even if they differ thematically and musically. Things are kept simple throughout (think acoustic strums and a homespun delivery), but there are subtle and beautiful contrasts throughout; the Beirut-esque carnival aura of "Crawled out of the Sea" and the brooding "Night Terror", for example, which provide darker counterpoints to airier fare like the folksy title track and the compelling "My Manic & I". Disarming yet deep, provocative yet peaceful, Alas places Marling head and shoulders above the bawlers and wailers. --Paul Sullivan

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By monte
Format:Audio CD
"Alas I Cannot Swim" is the debut album from one of Britain's most exciting new talents.
Twelve diverse tracks showcase Marling's versatile vocals and show little fear of leaving them exposed, while gentle acoustic guitar is the album's mainstay and folky string arrangements add new dimensions as songs develop. Released as a single, opening track "Ghosts" has already given listeners a taste of a confident record.
It's hard to believe that Laura Marling is a new artist who's just 18 years old - her voice is fresh and full of youthful vigour, yet it sounds as if it's been there for decades.
The Berkshire teenager is an untarnished musical treasure, and this is a debut informed by pop's past and fuelled by the nu folk present.
She composes startlingly mature lyrics reflecting on mortality - both "You're No God" and "My Manic And I" are stunningly simple explorations of the human condition, sung with crystal clarity yet warmly engaging.
The album is the culmination of what has been a prolific year of songwriting and creative maturity for Laura, from her debut EP, `"The London Town EP", released through Way Out West, to recent EP "My Manic & I", which saw her compared to a range of iconic female artists: Joni Mitchell, Sandy Denny, Kate Bush and PJ Harvey.
Warm folk arrangements of guitar, trumpets and brushed drums compliment songs that are beautifully measured, quirky but not overly so, smart but accessible - and all nodding towards a love of life with all its eccentricities.
Highlights are "Ghosts", "Night Terror", "Your Only Doll (Dora)" and the magnificent "Failure", a track that takes in everything from the futility of organised religion to fading fame. It's a lovely, special album.
With all the right influences not being worn on her musical sleeve, Laura Marling already sounds like the finished article.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Joni Mitchell (thank God) April 2, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Like Peter Savage "seriously" (see his review of this CD) I found the Joni comparissons to be unfounded and must admit that the first time through I found the CD to be a bit dry/thin.
Unlike Mr. Savage I listened to Ms. Marling's CD a few times and found that it was
brilliantly written- containing sly humor and a mature and poetic worldview that belies her young age.
Mr. Savage's folk roots may be in order but in my book Ms. Marling along with Johnny Flynn and Fionn Regan are the future of true British Isles Folk. Listen to this deceptively simple CD until you "GET IT", it's worth it.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Needs to be Heard. June 17, 2008
Format:Audio CD
I'm surprised there aren't a slew of reviews for this album as it has been out for a while. I don't feel I need to spend a lot of time reviewing the album as the Amazon review(p. Sullivan) seems, for once to have got it about right.

In the UK this album got a bit more press coverage than it might as it got lumped in with the 'next Amy Winehouse/Lily Allen' group of young female singers (Duffy, Kate Nash etc)but differs from her immediate peers by being the best of them by a stretch. Her music, though, is not the sort that lends itself easily to world domination. It is, however, ridiculously mature in outlook and beautifully realised. The songs are so strong throughout this album it is hard to credit.

It is always tempting when a young artist bursts on to the scene to picture their potential as being as much of the appeal as the work itself in this case there is no need. I'm not saying she won't record even better albums in the future but if she only matches the quality of this one it will be enough.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars raw gorgeousness November 13, 2008
By Ben
Format:Audio CD
I happened to read about this wonderful musician and yesterday, i happened to stumble upon this precious cd in the record store cum bookshop in my place. So happy(!), rushed to get it and waited patiently for the right time to listen to Laura's songs while sipping mineral water.
Not disappointed at all. A true gem for those who like their music a little folksy with meaningful, deep lyrics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alas, I cannot swim. September 28, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Here in Australia Laura Marling recieved national exposure through Triple J radio a couple of months ago . A interview on 2008, and Alas, I Cannot Swim was also the featured Album of the week. If it was not for Laura Marling's appearence on Triple J TV doing a cover version and interview, I would have passed by the Album.
Also Amzon's Review (recommended) nailed my decision to buy the Album.
Since the Postcard era of the 80's, British folk/pop has always found a place in my music collection . Alas, I Cannot Swim fits in perfectly, and between my secound and third listen became my most enjoyed new release of this year .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great album December 22, 2010
Format:Audio CD
This is one of the best albums I've run across in a long, long time! She has the voice of an angel, the language of a poet, and the wisdom of someone much older. Super talented and enticing! I listen to the album over and over.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Reborn November 24, 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Laura Marling's "Alas I Cannot Swim" burst out of the speakers for me, a delightful discovery. While one of my favorites is ironically titled "Failure," many tracks sparkle such as "You're No God" with its sweet shuffle, "You've never needed someone to comfort you." On "Cross Your Fingers" Marling combines a sunny melody with a darker lyric, "I jump into your grave & die; In your words, you'll give up your whole life for me & be reborn bigger & stronger." "My Manic & I" spins alluring with a heavy layer of sarcasm in the lyric, "I don't believe him; Morning is mocking me; Oh the gods that he believes never fail to amaze me; He believes in the love of his god of all things, but I find him wrapped up in all manner of sins." The opening track "Ghosts" is another sparkler that bounces with its bubbly melody and world-weary lyric, "Lover please do not fall to your knees; It's not like I believe in everlasting love." "Alas I Cannot Swim" has amazing buoyancy, marrying excellent songwriting and performance. Bravo!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good music!
Published 11 days ago by LG
5.0 out of 5 stars It got to me sooner than expected.
I got this as a gift for someone special (who introduced me to Marling via youtube) and yes they loved it!
Published 10 months ago by Will Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Laura Marling - Alas I cannot swim
How many tracks need to be about DYING! I'm dying, she's dying, he's dying. How about a fun song? Great voice but get over yourself at such a young age.
Published 15 months ago by Natalia
5.0 out of 5 stars In love with Laura's Music
This album is fantastic and definitely one of my favorites by Laura. I would suggest it to EVERYONE who loves LAura or might love her.
Published 16 months ago by Kate
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid album
Instrumentally, this album is understated. However, the songwriting is interesting and has a complexity to it that is unpredictable and beautiful. Read more
Published 16 months ago by S. Seng
5.0 out of 5 stars So great!
I was just introduced to her music, it is amazing! Blend of Celtic music and an underlying rock tone makes the CD.
Published 17 months ago by Sarah Jean Sheffield
4.0 out of 5 stars Great talent
I have all Laura's albums and none of them disappoint. I don't think this one is quite as good as "I speak because I can" but nonetheless a good album which deserves to be... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Boardie
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Seems like most albums have one or two songs that are just ok, but this one is great all the way through. Unique and lovely!
Published 20 months ago by C.K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Laura Marling's debut album
For fans of Mumford & Sons or First Aid Kit, I would recommend this complex folky singer's debut album. It is more raw than her later albums, but still enjoyable.
Published 21 months ago by J.Stiegz
5.0 out of 5 stars Laura Marling. Guys.
I discovered this album by chance and fell completely in love. Laura Marling is my favorite artist and started my obsession with folk music. Read more
Published on August 16, 2012 by Birdneedsbook
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