Marina & the Diamonds: Froot

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Posted April 11, 2015 by in Alternative
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Rating

Overall
 
 
 
 
 

4/ 5

Details

Genre: , , ,
 
Producer:
 
Label: ,
 
 
 
 
Genre: Indie pop, alternative, pop, alt-pop
 
Producer: Marina Diamandis, David Kosten
 
Label: Atlantic, Neon Gold
 
Format: Digital download, compact disc
 
Time: 53:09
 
Release Date: 13 March 2015
 
Spin This: "Froot," "Can't Pin Me Down," "Blue, "I'm a Ruin"
 

Pros:

Shaking up the sound in overhaul, Diamandis goes for live energy, experimental pop and swanky glimmers of psychedelia
 

Cons:

Lacks the type of combustible radio-ready hits of her previous record and the New Wave sound from her first LP
 

New direction, fruitful display of unapologetic indie pop-rock highlights Diamandis third LP

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

New direction, fruitful display of unapologetic indie pop-rock highlights Diamandis third LP 

What is froot? It’s probably the first question that comes to mind after hearing the title track from Marina & the Diamonds’ latest project. It’s a term that comes with various meanings, but is commonly interpreted as meaning something cool. And there’s also another definition; a controversial one that makes sense to the song’s lyrics. “Come on fill your cup up/Looking for some good luck,” Marina Diamandis sings on the second verse. She’s talking about a fuck buddy. On her third disc, the Welsh singer-songwriter puts the ambiguous word on blast, while also exploring newer craftsmanship to approach her type of indie pop. She’s also putting her songwriting prowess to work by penning virtually each episode all on her own. Her last record, Electra Heart, featured co-writing credits with big names like Greg Kurstin and Dr. Luke. On this round, she’s fully confident with bearing responsibility of the creative direction of each song. Adding more heat to the fire, Diamandis has only solicited the handiwork of David Kosten to handle the album’s production. Don’t think for a second that there’s trouble in the budget department. Rather than leaning on lots of copy-and-paste studio trickery to make Froot possible, Diamandis allows a live band to make these offerings possible.

“Froot,” the album’s lead single, is a prime example of how Diamandis is pushing the envelope in her musical sound. The song bears a distinctive throwback disco vibe surrounded by nostalgic ‘80’s arcade bleeps. Dreamy, flirty vocals from Diamandis akin to Madonna helps push the song into the hands of mainstream accessibility. She pulls off even more crafty, likable tracks using distinctive edge on the urban-sprinkled “Can’t Pin Me Down” and on the intense rock of “Forget.” With “Blue,” set to more disco bait, she puts her silly personality on cruise control (“Gimmie love, gimme dreams, gimme a good self-esteem”) before capping off her verses with a rhapsodic closing as if she’s executing arias.

Instead of focusing on the big pop productions and new wave of her previous records, Diamandis is playing with a cosmic universe of styles. At the helm of the album’s direction is this pulse to sound unearthly. When hearing “Gold,” you can sense Diamandis slipping into a mesmeric rapture of psychedelic pop. When she executes her own backing vocals on the ‘60s’ pop-teased “Better Than That,” it sounds as if she’s singing them from behind a wall of dust clouds. Towards the back of the album, she pushes for harder-to-digest material. When she’s sizing up her slightly-calmed rant at “all of my exes” on “Weeds,” she implores a sound that feels like a serenading Katy Perry riding on LSD. And then there’s “Savages,” where she pours out stunning revelations about ourselves: “Underneath it all, we’re just savages/Hidden behind shirts, ties and marriages.” From the very start of the record, you clearly learn she’s not afraid in taking big risks. By opening with a sleepy pop ballad like “Happy,” she’s already defying the rules.

Although she doesn’t pull off anything as pop radio ready as her former hits “How to Be a Heartbreaker” or “Primadonna,” she finds her home in this experimental universe that feels more authentic and original than anything she’s mustered before. It’s as if she’s fallen into a Florence Welch funk, settling for something more baroque and sophisticated.  The indie singer is shooting for a type of avant-garde diva status on this round, even if she still seems quirky and full of fun in places. That authenticity will probably translate well to the music critics and those seeking for a magical adaptation of pop. Froot might not get any real radio play, but it will go down in the books as being a crafty work of art.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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