Twelve months ago, I speculated if Laura Marling’s fifth album would be her fourth in a row to make my year-end top ten; upon first hearing it last March, I knew the answer right away. Short Movie is not quite her best album, but it might be her most immediate to date. As distinct as each of her other records but also just as identifiable, it’s full of transitions—from the UK to America, from acoustic to electric guitars, from swooning over lost love to gleaning perspective after all the wounds have healed (cue the delectably acidic “Strange”). Her increasingly seamless shifts between hooky pop (“False Hope”, “Gurdjieff’s Daughter”) and spooky folk (“Warrior”, “Howl”) hint that she has a truly great album in her yet to come; so does the multilayered, masterfully building, summation-of-life title track, where she repeatedly concludes, “It’s a short fucking movie, man.” Indeed.
Favorite tracks: “False Hope”, “Strange”, “Don’t Let Me Bring You Down”, “Short Movie”