tue 26/09/2017

CD: Marina and the Diamonds - Electra Heart | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Marina and the Diamonds - Electra Heart

CD: Marina and the Diamonds - Electra Heart

Second album from Welsh-Greek pop princess is predictable but full of vim

Marina Diamandis channels Eighties Madonna and Jennifer Jason Leigh in 3D

Kooky ladies are very much of the moment, an ongoing moment, actually - the last couple of years, to be precise - but they seem to be with us to stay which is surely a good thing, especially in the playground. Better them than unreconstructed pole-dancing, as promulgated by the Pussycat Dolls et al. Then there’s Gaga, of course, who’s a lot of both. Now the kook generation, from Ellie Goulding to Paloma Faith, have to decide (once they've steered clear of wannabe-Mariah X Factor tedium) what ratio of gay club 3am hard house stomp to inject into their cod-Kate Bush freakery.

Marina Diamandis initially plumbed for the Bushy end of things, albeit heavily splashed with burlesque cabaret schtick, as is the vogue in these circles, but for her second album the kick-drum crunch is often in full effect. As a man who rarely says no to hefty four-to-the-floor thumping, that’s no problem, but by the end of the 12 songs on Electra Heart there’s an unfortunate sense that it sounds a bit the same and like something heard before.

Enough negativity, though, for Diamanidis has hauled in a crack team of songwriters, ones who’ve slaved in the past for Katy Perry and Madonna amongst others, and they do muster enough for her swooping operatic voice to attack with relish, and which are mostly hum-along radio frolics, tinted with occasional sixth-form melancholy. For the evidence, check the Pet Shop Boys chat-hop of “Homewrecker", the oddly ecclesiastical electro-pop of “Power and Control” or the wonderful way she sings, “You’re a coward to the end,” on “Lies”. Best of all, though, is “Teen Idol” which sounds like nothing else, a smashing amalgam of high school musical number and Sarah Brightman fronting Clannad. That description actually makes it sound like a complete stinker but it’s not, it’s corking, and if she’d done a few more like it Electra Heart wouldn’t just be good fun, it would be plain great.

Watch the video for "Primadonna"

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