I first heard of Marina Diamandis from a friend who waxed lyrical about this young Welsh woman who looks like a young Catherine Zeta Jones. A passing reference to Tori Amos was made, and I do remember raising an eyebrow ever so slightly on hearing that. I’m afraid I’m one of Those Fans – someone had better have a pretty good reason for making use of Tori’s name like that – and so, as soon as I had a free moment, I made sure I listened to Marina’s single Hollywood…
I was hooked. I had to hear more. Mowgli’s Road and I Am Not a Robot were next on the playlist, and after that, I made sure I got my hands on Marina & The Diamonds’ debut album The Family Jewels. And that day, I might add, was torture. I got the CD during the course of the day, but couldn’t listen to it in the office, and because I had a work commitment that evening, I couldn’t listen to it at home. It was only the following night that I was able to finally pop the CD into the stereo, press ‘Play’… And then press ‘Repeat’.The Family Jewels stayed in my CD player for nearly three days. It’s all I wanted to hear. It’s all I COULD hear.
I have to disagree with my friend. Marina doesn’t sound like Tori Amos. If anything, Marina’s sound is closer to that of Regina Spektor, only more ‘poppy’. The piano features strongly, as do keyboards and guitars, and Marina’s voice is deliciously rich. She can go from tongue in cheek fun to tender emotion, and her vocals in the songObsessions literally send shivers down my spine. Marina’s melodies are catchy, but not in that annoying PleasepleasepleaseMakeItStop kind of way. I’m quite happy to walk around with snatches of Hermit the Frog or Hollywood on repeat in my head!
Marina’s lyrics make it clear that she has a sense of humour, and a good one, to boot. There’s wordplay, sharp observations, and even a few digs at herself, including a reference to the Catherine Zeta resemblance.
It has now been about two months since I was first introduced to Marina & The Diamonds, and I’m still not tired of The Family Jewels. Admittedly, I’m now listening to other music again, but this album is without a doubt one of 2010’s musical highlights for me.
The tracks I Am Not a Robot, Mowgli’s Road,Obsessions, Hollywood, Hermit the Frog and Guilty I think are real gems. However, I also think that you won’t find a single dud on this album. Marina Diamandis has given us edgy, intelligent, and lush pop music, and I love her for it. Marina… Will you marry me?