Lingua disponibile: ingleseAustralian singer/songwriter Laura Jean Engbert -- who performs and records under the name Laura Jean -- became a critical favorite with the release of her chamber folk debut, Our Swan Song, in 2006. Championed by major acts like Snow Patrol and Bon Iver, the Melbourne native was shortlisted for the prestigious Australian Music Prize for her eponymous 2014 album. Initially labeled as an indie folk artist, her music has ranged subtly from style to style over subsequent releases, from the edgier, electrified sound of 2011's A Fool Who'll to the bright synth pop of 2018's Devotion. Following a pair of early self-released EPs in 2003 and 2005, Laura Jean issued her debut album in 2006. The lush chamber folk of Our Swan Song fared well, receiving airplay on Triple J radio, and was reissued the following year on the Scotland Yard label. She began to support larger touring indie acts across the country and even joined Irish rock band Snow Patrol on-stage during two of their Australian tours. Her second album, a conceptual piece about self-discovery called Eden Land, arrived in 2009 and ended up on many critics' Top Ten lists for the year. She did a tour supporting Bon Iver and even appeared on the popular Australian quiz show Rockwiz. After several long international tours, she retreated to the country to write material for her third album, 2011's heavier, electric guitar-based A Fool Who'll. That same year she joined frequent collaborators Biddy Connor and Jen Sholakis, and the trio released an album under the name Sailor Days. For her fourth album, Laura Jean traveled to Bristol, England to record with producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Goldfrapp). The resulting self-titled release was issued in 2014 and again saw a sonic shift for the singer as she turned in an intimate, spare, largely acoustic set that was shortlisted for an Australian Music Prize and led to Australian and New Zealand tours with Aldous Harding and Marlon Williams. Following a 2016 vinyl reissue of her debut and subsequent acoustic tour, Laura Jean again changed directions, parlaying her newfound fascination with an old '90s Kawai keyboard into a bright, synth-led dream pop-type sound on her fifth album, 2018's Devotion. ~ Timothy Monger
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