Young U.K. singer-songwriter Laura Marling has quickly piled up critical accolades in her young career. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

The baroque, wintry balladry that comprised her 80-minute headlining set at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue last night felt made-to-order to assuage the anxieties of awards-pickers: It was accomplished and skillfully wrought by a five-piece band that burnished Marling’s silvery voice and guitar with cello, banjo, and French horn.

But there was something standoffish about the whole thing. And for a performer who owned right at the top that “stage banter is not my forte,” Marling sure did go on, dissipating much of the spell her ageless, melancholy vocals — poised in some seaborne sonic longitude between Regina Spektor and Joni Mitchell — cast in that beautiful house of worship, with its vaulted ceilings and somber stained glass.


It wasn’t excruciating or self-indulgent, though it did lack the pith of her closer, “All My Rage,” wherein she repeats, “All my rage been gone / I leave my rage to the sea and the sun.” But bit more rage would make her a less opaque performer, and probably a more exciting one, too.