Wednesday, February 24

Marina and The Diamonds - The Family Jewels

. Wednesday, February 24

Some people have fame thrust upon them and, like an uncomfortable pair of shoes, they try to gain a balance and grace with this most unwelcome accessory. Others flourish under the spotlight though, posing and gesturing as if this is the frame for which their life was designed to be housed in. Listening to ‘The Family Jewels’ you suspect that Marina Diamandis is very much of the latter persuasion. Over the course of fourteen tracks of shrieks and purrs she flaunts her future star style all over a host of ADD pop anthems like someone who has already written they BRIT, Grammy and Oscar award winning speeches.

This is not a criticism though, far from it. By emitting such confidence and attitude throughout her music Marina beckons us into her world making all comers feel welcome. Past interviews have seen Marina confess to having auditioned for musicals despite having no training and even trying out for a boy band in disguise so she is clearly going to relish the opportunity to lock her cross hairs on super stardom. What is remarkable is that ‘The Family Jewels does not sound desperate or keen to be loved. As she sings on ‘The Outsider’, Marina is a “Fucking wildcard”. Obviously she’s not that much of a wild card. Donita Sparks was a wild card, Marina prefers flirts with oddity and rebellion - dipping her toe in the water of eccentricity but always returning back to a clean and shiny cocoon of safety. This obsession with the bizarre provides the album with some of its highlights including the ’Britney loose in a zoo’ style ‘Mowgli’s Road’ and vocal tics a go- go maudlin ballad ‘I Am Not A Robot’

Any true displays of eccentricity are reined in however. This is to the albums benefit as tracks ‘Are You Satisfied’ and ‘Girls’ give the listener room to breathe. If Marina is to reach the level of fame and success she both craves and deserves then ‘Oh No!’ will be the song to launch her there. Bold but familiar it’s a catchy pop romp that does nothing new or clever but still manages to be utterly irresistible. These upbeat party songs might become the calling card of ‘The Family Jewels but there is a side to Marina that is more fragile than her brash exterior indicates. Whilst far from being a “Well actually I’m a really shy girl who just likes to stare out of the window and cry’ plot twist ‘Obsessions’ and ‘Numb’ show a delicate and more personal dimension to an album that really can be very full on.

What sets Marina and her Diamonds apart is attitude. Self assured and willing to take risks she will alienate some but charm so many more. As she says on ‘Hollywood’, don’t confuse her with Shakira or even Catherine Zeta. She’s Marina and she’s here to stay.


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