Laura Marling

Short Movie

(Virgin EMI)

Despite notching up four albums, several Mercury nominations and a Brit award by the age of 23, Laura Marling suffered a crisis of confidence when it came to album number five. Songs were scrapped, recording sessions canned. For a while she stopped playing music.

But then she picked up a guitar again and found herself making Short Movie, a daydreamy sort of record in which the resonant strums of 1970s English folk-rock merge with visions and sounds of her temporary US home (she recently returned to London).

“I just don’t feel I belong at all,” she sings in “False Hope” over a rumbling guitars and drums reminiscent of PJ Harvey’s New York homage Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. The electric style is a departure for Marling but she sounds perfectly at home with it. Indeed the album would benefit from more such songs: next to them the whimsical Dylanesque exercise in opacity “Strange” sounds mannered.

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