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Alas I Cannot Swim

33 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 19, 2008
$14.99
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Editorial Reviews

2008 debut album from the young British Folk singer/songwriter who will appeal to fans of Kirsty Maccoll, Linda Thompson and Kate Nash. Although not legally old enough to buy a drink, this darling of the Art-Folk circuit has been selling out clubs and garnering critical acclaim. Her gentle Folk songs are haunting, cool and personable. With talent to back up the critical hype that is just beginning, Marling is savvy enough to have released an album that stands tall above the other female singer/songwriters on the scene today. 12 tracks including the single 'Ghosts'. Virgin.

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)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 19, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Astralwerks
  • ASIN: B001BGTWNI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,148 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By monte on July 30, 2008
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 By M. Northuis on 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 By William J. Walker on 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 By Ben on November 13, 2008
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 By Robert J. Bloem on 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 By Mary E. Alexander on 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 By Lee Armstrong HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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