There is a reason why Marina Lambrini Diamandis should be taken seriously. The 26-year-old Welsh artiste started off on a pop trail in 2005,inspired by the pop girls brigade including Britney Spears,Blondie and Madonna,yet has managed to keep off its mainstream hooks. Even though her debut album The Family Jewels (2010) did not take off that well at the charts,it was a precursor to what would come up next.
Marina and the Diamonds take off from the seduction of commercialism,modern social values,family and female sexuality dipped in her subtle-pop sassiness in the first album,to present an alarmingly radical antithesis for everything Diamandis has stood for. Pop music,here,has taken an unabashedly brazen turn and Electra Heart,her latest second album,has come forth. Among her many winning attributes,her baroque-pop voice has emerged as the strongest bit in her music.
The 16-track album is reminiscent of the electro-pop New Wave of the 70s which saw many of Diamandis inspirations take centrestage. Her power-character types throughout the album emerge in the first track Bubblegum Bitch. The Madonna-meets-Katy Perry-esque track introduces one to the world of Electra Heart with its dance beats and rhyming candy-flossed lyrics like Oh dear diary,I met a boy/ He made my dull heart light up with joy/ Oh dear diary,we fell apart/ Welcome to the life of Electra Heart. The next track,an instant stunner,Primadonna,another one of her characters,has her baroque-pop voice trilling to a sweet hollow,shifting to an electro bridge and then back,singing of the primadonna life,the rise and fall.
Shifting from its characters,the track list next throws up Lies,characterised by a slow tempo where she sounds at ease,her voice reverberating over the beats,almost reminiscent of Justin Timberlakes emo-pop Theres none of the straight-laced cutesy elements with Homewrecker that starts off with a nonsensical dialogue but immediately jumps on to a thumping,vengeful croon about her being a homewrecker,and,revelling in all her sassiness,shes only happy when Im on the run.
Like Lies,Diamandis at her best when she lets simplicity overrun her quirks. Piquantly soulful music erupts from oddballs like Teen Idle,Valley of the Dolls and The State of Dreaming with all the low-key programmed drums and piano patterns,with equalised electro sounds. Though not especially a highlight of the track list,theres something about Hypocrates,which is a very happy pop song with no complications. Ending the playlist are three bonus tracks Living Dead,Lonely Hearts Club and Buy the Stars,of which Lonely Hearts Club has a faint familiarity with Gagas electronic zaniness but stands out for a certain quality that will soon become Diamandis formulaic music.
Diamandis stands against the deteriorated and the corrupted,puckering her all-powerful femininity to produce music that she calls her own; mature enough for a second album and serious enough for a great artiste.