Release date: September 2011
A Creature I Don't Know is the third album by British singer-songwriter Laura Marling, released on September 12, 2011. The album was announced in June 2011, along with a preview of a new song, featured in a video posted on Laura Marling's official YouTube channel. The first track from the album to receive radio airplay was "Sophia", on 25 July 2011 on BBC Radio 1.
The artist began working on the album during the lull after her I Speak Because I Can 2010 tour. It was a solitary time which she remembered as "a lot of sitting in cafes, newspaper crosswords and scrawling in notebooks before any songs took shape". This gestation period was, according to Marling, essential. "I think I stew over ideas for a long time. And I can get fixated on an idea, it will probably start with something from a book I've found interesting, and then I'll probably think about it and then I'll have conversations with myself about it, and then obviously it seeps into my conscious and a song will be written about it", she told Guardian. "The songs had been written, or more accurately there was nothing left to say, but I think I waited for a month or so before I did anything with them. Then most of them were demoed sitting here, with a microphone hanging there", she added.
Marling was writing and demoing the material alone, as well as working out the vocal arrangements before she played any of the songs to her band or her producer. "It was quite an interesting way of doing it, because it allowed me to put my stamp on it before anybody else put their stamp on it. With the first two albums – Charlie (Fink, lead singer of Noah and the Whale) produced Alas I Cannot Swim, and it's as much his album as it is mine, and with I Speak Because I Can, the style of the drumming and the bass playing is very much a representation of the characters who were playing on that album, and Ethan (Johns) stepping in as well. This time I thought: 'Well, I've got the confidence now, and I know what I want it to sound like, so before anybody else gets their grubby mitts on it, why don't I put my stamp on it?'" the singer said.