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The Family Jewels

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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

A definate diamond

Are you satisfied? I certainly am.

The cultlery can chase me all it wants!

Sometimes an artist comes along that shines like a diamond in the rough of the manufactured crap that is thrown at us nowadays! Kate Bush she is not, yet she has the makings of being just as creative and special. She is certainly one of the freshest, most honestl and genuine artists on offer today. This is an outstanding album! The Family Jewels offers a huge array of sounds and hooks that draws you in from the first listen and only gets better with each listen after. From the soulful 'Mowgli's Road' and 'Numb' wacky poptastic sounds of 'Oh No' and 'Girls' to the beautiful 'Obsessions', 'Rootless' or 'I Am Not A Robot', there really is something for everyone here. For a debut album it is incredibly mature, especially for a girl who has only been making music for the last 2 years. I can see her lasting a long time and she can only continue to blossum if she doesn't let the success change her honesty as an artist. If you only buy one album this year...make this it!

A Diamond for sure

I first heard Marina when I was going to see Digitalism last year in Carlow. I listened to some of her stuff online before the gig and loved her immediately. She was amazing live an now her album is just as I expected. A jem from start to finish. A must buy!


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 a deeper source...
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