Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

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Album Review: Laura Marling – Short Movie

2 min read

Laura Marling’s been releasing solo albums for about seven years now. For the four albums created in this period, her acoustic folk style was one of the major attractions. This is about to change for Short Movie, as she’s decided to plug in and go with electric guitars instead. Coupled with the release of the single False Hope, this was initially worrying. The prospect of this shift seemed like a threat to what made her so interesting.

Laura Marling Short MovieSurprisingly enough, Short Movie isn’t actually all that different for her. Despite the acoustic guitar being replaced with an electric one, the album still carries that classic Laura Marling sound that made her music so attractive. On Strange for example, the focus of the song is given to Laura’s vocals and her guitar and the style of singing is closer to talking than anything else. The rest of her band isn’t just thrown in for the sake of it; they’re used intelligently.

This thankfully also gives way to beautiful songs like I Feel Your Love and Walk Alone: Two that rely entirely on guitar and vocals (with some accompanying strings in the case of Walk Alone) and carry themselves solely on Laura’s talents. Gurdjieff’s Daughter mixes some indie rock influence in the bouncy fully band backed instrumental, while retaining some flair with its vocals similar to those on Strange.

Compared to the anxiety caused by the single False Hope and its considerable indie rock influence, Short Movie feels like a welcome addition to her discography. The only weak points on the album manifest in the guise of previously mentioned False Hope and the new song Don’t Let Me Bring You Down, which shares its sound and style with the single. They sound fuller than a majority of the songs on the album, and yet lack the inspiration of the stronger songs.

It’s definitely a welcome revelation that the personality of Laura’s music is retained here. Songs like Gurdjieff’s Daughter, I Feel Your Love and Walk Alone stand firm as the strongest, sounding like true improvements on what came before, and it all works just as well plugged in as it would if it were acoustic. If anything the biggest change presented here is Laura taking the reigns as the sole producer for the first time, which makes what was accomplished here so much greater.

Short Movie is an overall success. Barring a few exceptions to the rule, it remains true to form and keeps the identifiable Laura Marling quality even with the different vibe offered by the electric instruments. It’s neither a change for the better nor for the worse; it just feels like a natural evolution.