Marina and the Diamonds: The Family Jewels


Marina and the Diamonds
The Family Jewels
Released in US: May 25, 2010

Marina Diamandis is one of those mysterious souls who has flown in from the great unknown and made some immediately beautiful noise, going from zero to one hundred in the space of about 2 years.  In the era of people who are “made,” Diamandis demonstrates that sometimes, good, old-fashioned busting your ass still can get you somewhere.

After releasing several EPs in the UK  last year and one in the US this spring, Marina and the Diamonds (which is actually just Marina) released a full-length debut album called The Family Jewels in May.   Of all of the more recent graduates from Kate Bush University, Marina shows incredible promise – she has the vocal range and warmth of a Happy Rhodes or Mary Fahl, with the best of modern synth pop revival pumping behind her.  This is quirk, but good, good quirk.  It’s the kind of quirk that makes you want to turn it up until you piss off your neighbors and nearly blow your windows out.

Overall, the album is fun, if a bit inconsistent.  Marina seemingly needs to decide if she wants to go the way of Britney (burn brightly and fade) or if she wants to become the next electropop star with substance.  Songs like “I Am Not a Robot” and “Numb” prove that she has the songwriting and arranging chops to go the more alt/indie route and grow a fan base within the intellectual set, if she chooses.  That said, songs like “Shampain”  (even with the annoying pun on the spelling), and “Girls” (the ubiquitous anthem against dumb girls) are addictively danceable.  Even a tune like “Hollywood,” which at first listen would seemingly appeal more to an audience outside of the US, truly resonates with recent events like the oil spill and continuing political scandals (“I’m obsessed with the mess that’s America”).

The Buzz: Overall, the lyrics aren’t going to win a Pulitzer, but if you’re looking for good, solid, quirky alterna-pop tunes for summer, this album deserves a spot in your JT/Beyonce/Lady Gaga, “blast it with the windows down” playlist.  The iTunes deluxe version of the album includes some fun remixes, as well.

Watch the video for “I Am Not a Robot” here.

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