Laura Marling, “Short Movie”
Laura Marling’s Short Movie is the fifth release for the English singer-songwriter in just seven years. The folk artist has quickly grown beyond the early headlines centering on her young age or knee-jerk comparisons to ’70s female musicians. After a move to Los Angeles and personal explorations into poetry writing and film, Marling’s new music feels more electric and cinematic. It’s less constrained by genre conventions and resembles an older and wiser person moving beyond her personal dramas in some ways. Short Movie’s fish-eye-lens focus is both a detriment and asset here. Marling’s aptitude for melodic phrasing along, with an unmoored interplay between classical and Americana instrumentation, remains as sharp as ever. Though her latest investigations into rock tend to blend into the background instead of snap her naturalistic stories into sharp relief, and a small sense of complacency sets in during the middle, this is an otherwise ethereal and moving release.