Laura Marling arguably hit the high point of her career with 2013's "Once I Was an Eagle." Everything about that album was big — its thicket of acoustic arrangements, its peals of lyrics about heartbreak, its run time (an hour and change).
For a follow-up, she's gone smaller, starting with the LP's title of "Short Movie." Though it's not the statement-making brass-ring grab that "Eagle" was, it's certainly more approachable, and maybe even more enjoyable.
"Short Movie" is both lighter and stranger than its predecessor. Here, Marling's ever-brilliant guitar playing is surrounded with specters of ambient electronic noise. "False Hope" creaks with Tangerine Dream-style washes cut through with strong drumming and a panicked lyrical insomnia. The spare "Howl" brings out her inner Nico, but the rockers like "I Feel Your Love" and "Don't Let Me Bring You Down" steal the show with a newfound zest. "Short Movie " is no epic, but it's the most replayable LP of Marling's career.
3 stars out of 4