Laura Marling, Short Movie, Virgin EMI
Adding yet another string to her bow, Short Movie is Laura Marling’s fifth album in seven years, and her first self-produced album, with co–credit to her long time drummer Matt Ingram and studio engineer Dan Cox.
There are elements of the Marling we know and love on this record. The dreamy folk escapades and angelic vocals are present but Short Movie marks a new direction for the singer-songwriter, towards a much bigger, freer, electric feel.
After moving to LA and taking a break from writing, the thirteen tracks were recorded in London following a period of intense self-reflection, “I realised that I hadn’t been in a place for longer than two or three weeks since I was 16,” she said. “I thought: ‘I wonder what will happen if I try and root myself somewhere [and] look back over the past eight years.’”
Opening track ‘Warrior’ follows a mysterious narrative, as the singer sets the scene of solitude and casts off an unwanted companion, “I can’t be your horse anymore / You’re not the warrior I would die for”.
Laura goes on to bare her soul on ‘Feel Your Love’, a track brimming with off-beat guitar plucks and heart rending string sequences. It hits you right in the chest, as the songstress begs her lover to let her go.
Nowhere is the concept of self reflected more than on ‘Easy’, expressing the necessity of spending time alone in order to mature and grow, “You can’t get lost if you’re not on your own / You can’t be found if you’re not all alone”.
Short Movie also experiments with playful vocals on ‘Strange’ and ‘Gurdjieff’s Daughter’, blurring the boundary between speech and song in sprechgesang style, exuding a confidence that excels Marling’s 25 years. The production is fuller and the shift to electric guitars and pacy rhythms is a sure fire sign of her capacity to develop as an artist.
The innocence of Laura’s voice is shattered on ‘Short Movie’ by the rousing repetition of, “It’s a short fucking movie man”. The title track drives the record towards its confident conclusion and cements this album as Marling’s most assured to date.