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The Family Jewels

Marina and The Diamonds

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Album Review

"Did you find your bitch in me," Marina Diamandis asks on "Hermit the Frog," a track not unlike many others suggesting that Marina & the Diamonds' debut album is not scared of being inarguably ballsy. Track to track, each song is more quotably engaging than the next on The Family Jewels, the debut record by Marina & the Diamonds. Diamandis, the sole artist behind the band, does a masterful job of navigating through styles and genres on a varied debut that hoards influences from '80s dance records, late-'90s female rock, and post-millennial synth pop and throwback soul. If one wanted to compare her to contemporaries, one could start by listening to "I Am Not a Robot" and feeling the influence of Kate Nash, or turning to "Oh No" and understanding the Ke$ha vibes that adorn some of the more spiteful, playful tracks. Wrap these songs together with a voice not unlike Florence Welch's and one gets an album that is unified by two traits: undeniable bite and unforgettable hooks. Sure, not all of The Family Jewels is necessarily mainstream enough for radio waves or single jewel cases; however, not one track on this album lacks a hook that wouldn't have listeners of a wide span of ages singing along. Much of this can be credited to Diamandis herself, who wrote seven of the 13 tracks on her debut, and contributes on the other six. And even with Liam Howe at the production helm for ten of the tracks, nothing feels stale, dated, or perpetuated. The contrast from single to single validates this: "Mowgli's Road" bursts out with an almost childlike rhythm that is supported by howling monkeys, only to be followed later by "Hollywood," a playful frock rooted in synthesizers and a massive chorus. Diamandis earns a large number of brownie points for owning a unified sound on her album that invests itself in every track, sparing no album cut for the sake of quantity over quality. The Family Jewels is a record that is creatively ubiquitous and aggressive, traits that make this album not unlike Amy Winehouse's Back to Black or maybe even Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville.

Customer Reviews

Just Perfect

Similar to another review I read, this album will probably take awhile to catch on in North America, but when it does...look out! This is what pop music is intended to be. Catchy, intelligent lyrics...someone with real personality and talent. Check out her website for some pretty amusing blogs as well! This is a must buy for anyone with a shred of musical integrity.

Buy it. Buy it NOW.

Amazing. Marina is a force unto herself, and The Family Jewels is proof positive. I love this album from beginning to end and seriously hope she gains more popularity here. I've seen comparisons to everyone from Florence and the Machines to Kate Bush. Nope. I think Marina and the Diamonds has a unique voice and sound all her own. Well worth a listen.

We are the Diamonds!

This has to be the best pop album in a decade! Not only is it clever and catchy but it shows that you can get to the top by writing overall good songs. She's fighting against societies rules and regulations which is a good change from the " let's get drunk and then go to the club" songs. Such a great album! I have been listening to her since the beginning and I have been urging people to listen to her! Her and Little Boots are the future of the pop/dance scene! All the songs are amazing in their own right! Don't just preview this album, buy it! Can't wait for the hard copy to come to American stores so I can pick one up!

Biography

Formed: 2005 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Marina and the Diamonds, really just Marina Diamandis, was born in 1986 to Welsh and Greek parents, although she has often claimed to be from Ancient Greece. After dropping out of four different music courses at four different universities, she decided to make her own way in music, and began writing left-field pop songs. Early on, she claimed that her inspirations were Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani — who she often covered at live gigs — but her songs have a soulful edge pointing to...
Full bio