Laura Marling is looking to shake things up with her upcoming album Short Movie, moving away from her acoustic folk sound and into the world of rock. While the lead single of the same name previewed her new plugged in and fuller sound, it almost sounded like a classic Laura Marling song with a full band behind it. If False Hope is anything to go by, however, this may not be the case for the rest of the album.
False Hope opens in familiar territory for Marling, with her raw vocals singing over the lone accompaniment of a guitar, albeit an electric one rather than acoustic, reciting lyrics based on her experiences during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It’s not until a minute into the song that the rest of the band jumps in, filling the song out with drums and bass. The difference between False Hope and her past material is staggering, and the shift from acoustic folk to this rock sound feels natural and suits her lyricism and vocals perfectly.
It’s unfortunate that disappointment follows shortly after the song gains its full accompaniment, as a mere two minutes after the band comes in the song comes to an abrupt end without truly resolving itself. It’s an interesting choice, fitting in well with the chaotic event the lyrics reference. It’s also a technique that Marling has used in songs previously, and may just sound worse due to the style shift. Regardless, while it doesn’t completely ruin the song, it’s a choice that leaves it feeling unfinished.
False Hope is an initially gripping song that unfortunately loses its spark all too early. Another minute or so may have strengthened the song and turned it into something great, but instead drags the quality of the song down.