First Impressions: Glittering and Rewarding 'Family Jewels'

Monday, February 22, 2010

There is something about Marina. Marina Diamandis  that is. Coming out of Wales, Marina shook up the pop groundwork with the 2008 release of the whimsical "Obsessions". From the get-go the song was attractive and was itching to be taken seriously as a wisely derived pop track for grown-ups. Soon after the song started bubbling on the blog scene, Marina was lumped into the same satchel as other British avant-pop-rock acts such as Florence + The Machine and Bat For Lashes. Marina has currently been pegged to follow in the footsteps of Kate Bush, the original queen of kooky rock-pop, and well, she has every right to.

After "Obsessions", Marina continued to distribute more precision cut singles such as the mechanical poetics of, "I Am Not A Robot" and the robust, "Mowgli's Road". Soon after, The Crown Jewels EP was released and the anticipation mounted for Marina to issue her stylistic pop in full album form.

The wait is now over as The Family Jewels is in presence and it's time to dig in, both hands of course, to pull out such sparkling and enticing pop-rock nuggets. Sound nuggets that are smart enough to not rot your teeth, but still addicting enough to make you come back for more.

The Family Jewels is rich in its sound, filled with angst, spirit and is nothing short of fun. Marina described the album to NME Magazine as "a body of work largely inspired by the seduction of commercialism, modern social values, family and female sexuality", and it doesn't disappoint at covering those subjects and more.

The punchy "Shampain" is one of the standouts, it's is as Marina says, "celestial". It's got a swiveling modern disco beat that is infectious and no doubt has single material written all over it's sparkling decor. "Girls" slips into rock n' roll tumble while "Numb" features a very operatic classical arrangement complete with strings in the background.

"Mowgli's Road" remains to be the top track as it's persistent percussion and witty pinch of lyrics keep getting better with each listen.

Same could be said for the charged up, "Oh No!, which is salty and meant to play on high volumes due to the strident piano keys and highly charged percussion back beat.  

Though they aren't new kids on the block anymore, "Obsessions" and the jokester elegance of the latest single, "Hollywood" sound much fuller amongst the other tracks adding to the overall feel to the record.

It was a long time in waiting for Marina to finally release an album, as she began her career crafting songs from an audio software program and selling ripped CD's off of MySpace. A homegrown start that has become the norm of today's aspiring musicians and has become the launching pad for careers (just ask former MySpace shippers, Lily Allen and Colbie Caillat). Though the album speaks for itself, Marina has already predicted her fame, as all the confidence is in her name. We must know that the Diamonds aren't Marina's band, but rather the name she had given to her followers, her fans. The invitation is there for us to join the bandwagon, so we should just go ahead and climb aboard.

Rating: 9.5/10
Release Date: February 23, 2010

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