At 21, English neo-folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling already has inspired considerable acclaim in the U.K. thanks to a trio of startlingly accomplished albums in which her trad-leaning music, hauntingly visionary lyrics, and rich, shadowy voice evince a maturity belying her age. Although thoroughly entwined in English folk's ancient tendrils, Marling's maverick muse drifts to folk-rock, jazzy intimations clearly influenced by Joni Mitchell, and even punk, the prevailing banjo, cello, and acoustic guitar giving way to turbulent electric guitars and biting vocals that stop just short of a howl. The latter happens on the harrowing "The Beast," which with the stark, unsettling tale of sexual toxicity "Night After Night" is at the center of her latest album, A Creature I Don't Know. Marling grapples throughout with weighty subjects like mortality, betrayal, evil, and anger while her music simmers with toil and trouble. But by the end of Creature she tosses all her "rage to the sea and sun," a jaunty purging of angst reminiscent of Sandy Denny-era Fairport Convention, clearing the slate for a career that appears boundless. With the Bello Duo. All ages.
Thu., Dec. 1, 7 p.m., 2011