For nearly 18 months, North London duo This is Laura have been charming, beguiling and wooing audiences from Primrose Hill to Paris. Centred around 21-year-olds Kitty Dalton and Sarah Gavin, This is Laura are a velvet-glove take on baroque folk and brittle blues, a strikingly original third way between the femme grit of PJ Harvey and the cats-cradle perplexities of CocoRosie and A Hawk And A Hacksaw. They can reduce unsuspected men and women to tears by dint of their sea-shanty, tinderbox of soul-fuelled delights. And while T.i.l maybe a duo, they never do anything by halves. They also have a bit of history. Kitty and Sarah have been writing music together for seven years, they used to be in an all-girl punk outfit at school before experimenting with an electro-rap. After collecting a junk shop's worth of curio instruments - rare accordions, battered fiddles, cellos and a harp -they've spent two years carefully (and we really do mean carefully) writing, rehearsing and recruiting band members to flesh out their moon-lit vision. The now includes Danny Lewis playing drums, Bridget Dalton on bass and Ben Kempson playing trumpet. T.i.l, you see, are the sound of nocturnal heartache and regret, wonder and longing but free of all the done-to-death cliché. After all, this is a band that can turn Slipknot's 'Wait and Bleed' into a delicate thing of sensitivity and beauty. It has to be heard to be believed, but is only one moment among many that causes conversations to slow down, glasses to stop clinking and hearts to gravitate to their spectral, magical pull. Quite simply, they are one of London's most alluring live bands right now. In case you're wondering, the titular Laura is the unified persona of Katherine and Sarah. Ms Dalton explains:"Laura was born when Sarah and I were about 15, when we were partying and getting up to no good we would refer to each other as Laura. It was hardly ever discussed, just an understanding. It was a joint alter ego which we would both play up to. We would also use Laura to communicate messages to each other which we would not want others to know about." Their first gig announced T.i.l to North London gig goers in tremendous, decadent style and earned them a mention in Time Out (London) in the process. They appeared as part of their own Dancing in the Dust clubnight, a universe away from low-horizon indie discos and tunnel vision house nights, a stiletto heel amongst a row of trainers that blended Moulin Rouge theatrics with a set list spanning 1930s jazz, haunted sea shanties and cuts'n'glitch electronica."We wanted to create a cabaret," says Kitty,"but also a platform for musicians which we discovered on the net. We wanted a stable venue behind us where we would show case bands, art films, performance arts and, of course, T.i.l." Kitty and Sarah are still curating events. See myspace for details. In-between successful gigs at Southwark playhouse, Secret Cinema in March 2010 to The Roundhouse in Camden, they've found time record a few of their songs. The demos express emotionally heartfelt mini-dramas that exude faded European glamour and are as dark as the night.