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Review: Marina and The Diamonds - 'FROOT'
Three years after the release of her second studio LP ‘Electra Heart’, Marina Diamandis, better known as Welsh singer/songwriter Marina and the Diamonds, returns to the fold with album no.3, ‘FROOT’.
Compared to its 2012 predecessor – which featured contributions from the likes of StarGate, Dr. Luke and Diplo – ‘FROOT’ is a more consistent effort, with the 29-year-old taking all of the album’s writing credits.
Production is handled alongside David Kosten, aka London-based electronic DJ/artist Faultline, whose prior work includes tunes for UK indie-pop pixie, Bat For Lashes.
Boasting a premier run of tantalising hooks, the tracklisting is an irresistible array of pop/electronic flavours.
The best tracks on ‘FROOT’ always sound one step ahead of the charts, doing the job of a pop song but without all the frilly dressing – sounding instead like they don’t really care if you like them or not.
Although ‘Blue’ is driven by shamelessly exuberant, brisk, bouncy beatwork, the standout track has Marina desperately attempting to dance her way through loneliness and craving the touch of a man.
‘FROOT’ highlight ‘Better Than That’ incorporates vibrant retro elements without losing a satisfying progressive edge.
Defending her own personal and creative contradictions, Marina wholeheartedly rejects the baggage that comes with being a major-league female performer on the entertainingly off-kilter, ‘Can’t Pin Me Down’.
‘Gold’ ever-so-slightly interrupts the record’s winning streak and ‘Forget’ can sound like a simplified version of the smarter, more challenging material on ‘FROOT’.
Still, the latter administers a dose of deep lyrical content and provides a more intimate glimpse at the lady behind the microphone.
Regretting her careless treatment of a loved-one, ‘I’m A Ruin’ is a slice of confessional pop semi-balladry that does the same.
Entrenched in self-imposed isolation, aided by a gradual, strident beat, Marina’s avant-gardism is unrelentingly hi-res within the five-star opulence of ‘Solitaire’.
Marina’s artistic oddities are sprinkled throughout ‘FROOT’, however her particular kind of flamboyance isn't suffocating.
The floaty, mesmeric ‘Weeds’ is given the room it needs to breathe, and the album’s buzzy, Tetris-style title track is coolly held together by an onslaught of pouty ad-libs, sex-doll phrasing and ghost-light harmonies.
Marina’s thoughts on love, life and death on the slow-burning ‘Immortal’ are in no way profound. However, her vocal theatrics – which range from innocent, angelic tones to an edgier warble – give the track intensity.
As one of the many songs on ‘FROOT’ that's completely transformed by the strength of its refrain, the songstress struggles to comprehend the complexities of human nature on ‘Savages’.
The tunes towards the backend of ‘FROOT’ can feel a little similar structurally, still, Marina uses them to muse on a cluster of subjects that mainstream pop, for the most part, chooses to stay clear of.