Album: Marina & The Diamonds, The Family Jewels (679)

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The Independent Culture

Marina Diamandis' debut album demonstrates the inevitable workings of entropy on pop methodology.

Tracks such as "Shampain" and "Hermit the Frog" are every bit as annoying as their punning titles, with queasy, prancing piano and synth figures labouring away methodically, Mika-fashion, while she searches unsuccessfully for worthwhile lyrical routes. But she doesn't really have much to say, despite ponderous titles such as "Rootless", "Obsessions" and "The Outsider": her considered critique in "Girls" of girly chit-chat about slimming, for instance, can be summarised in the line "All they say is 'Na-na-na-na-na'", while her avowed obsession, in "Hollywood", with "the myth that is America" simply results in the recycling of a few commonplace clichés about the American Dream and cultural imperialism. It's the relentless attention-seeking of her music that's most enervating, however, its infantile aspects exacerbated by Marina's high-register vocal tic in "I Am Not a Robot" and her whistling in "Mowgli's Road", both exercises in the kind of jolly, enthusiastic tedium favoured by stage-school musicals. No wonder she seems to have difficulty, in "Are You Satisfied?", reconciling inner sadness with outer satisfaction.

Download this Are You Satisfied?; Hollywood