There is a tension in the air on Laura Marling’s new album ‘Short Movie’ that hasn’t been present since 2010’s transitional ‘I Speak Because I Can’, when the songwriter sought to quickly escape the rather jovial indie-folk scene and find a “stepping stone” to other musical climes. It added a sharply affecting air of world-weary melancholy and an acerbic imagery that has mutated over the past five years.
The title track hinges on the world view of an ageing hippy she encountered in California, planting his “it’s a short fucking movie, man” at its centre, while ‘How Can I’ seizes the initiative and seems to pave the way for the return home, reinvigorated and restored, though not without concerns. ‘Short Movie’ is the record of an artist shaking her life up, spending a little more time peering at the stars and resisting the lure of the familiar.
It is, as a result, a commanding and sincerely fascinating listen that stands tall in a catalogue already awash with magic.