Marina & the Diamonds - The Family Jewels
We're all sick to the back teeth of hearing how 2009 was a good year for young female artists. Yet while La Roux, Florence, Little Boots et al were reaping the fruits of their labour by releasing well-received album, Marina & the Diamonds seemed to be held at arm's length, putting the finishing touches to their album and playing gigs (including a sold out Dublin show) on the back of an EP released last summer. Yet perhaps that's a good thing; the initial flurry of excitement ('Oh my God! Young women can sing, too!') has subsided somewhat, leaving 'The Family Jewels' to be judged without the comparative hysteria of being placed within a so-called 'movement'.
There's no doubt whatsoever that this is a brilliantly-produced album - little surprise, since it was Liam Howe, the man who had a hand in Cathy Davey's 'Tales of Silversleeve', who oversaw most of 'The Family Jewels'' recording. This is similarly quirky, well-crafted pop music with dashes of theatrics ('Are You Satisfied?', 'Girls') and plenty of catchy hooks.
Marina's voice, a semi-swarthy hum with bundles of energy (and drama, when required) is also an impressive instrument at times, apparently imitating Kate Bush on one or two occasions ('Mowgli's Road' sounds like Bush singing over a Goldfrapp-tinged track). There are some highly dubious moments here ('Hollywood' is particularly cringesome, especially lyrically), but overall, there's enough musical variety - '80s new wave, '90s glam rock, '00s chamber pop - to make 'The Family Jewels' a keeper.
Review by Lauren Murphy | 09:00 | Friday 19th February 2010 | Album Review
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