Three years on since the release of previous album, Electra Heart, 29 year old, Welsh singer Marina Diamindis, known as Marina & The Diamonds, is back, with her third and undoubtedly best album to date, FROOT. Due to unauthorised Internet leaks that trouble most 21st century artists, the record – initially due for release at the start of April – has been inevitably brought forward and is available now.
Inarguably full of colourful identity and an inescapable wonderfully eccentric identity, artistically Marina has never seemed to be one for blending into the background with vanilla songs on relationship breakdowns, and her newest offering is no different. Known for her ability to create synth drenched catchy melodic pop, FROOT feels distinctively more “grown-up”, as the female artist evokes an honest, stripped back essence in the record that has previously been unchartered territory. The result is magically anthemic and relatable. Gone are the co writers as Marina has built a more conventional band structure around her, and the result is a seemingly more organically polished record. With that being said, FROOT is still drenched in more than enough pop hooks and trademark Marina playfulness that make the record glimmer with ripeness.
Happy: The album opens with a distinctively stripped back track ‘Happy’, showcasing the singer’s status worthy vocal range with a piano accompaniment. The song was the second single to be released from the album, following the title track, and exposed a fresh direction for the singer. Chorus hook “finally, I have found a way to be happy” is beautifully simplistic in its efforts and sets a statement for the rest of the twelve tracked album
Froot: A brilliantly catchy, ’80s tinged pop hit, title track ‘FROOT’ highlights Marina’s quirky and colourful best, through an infectious melody, sun drenched synth sounds and glittering keys. It’s less bubblegum pop than we’ve previously seen from Marina, and has a distinctly more accomplished feel to it. The funk driven guitar riff adds yet another dance worthy element, creating a pop blinder to add to Marina’s crown.
I’m A Ruin: Third track ‘I’m a Ruin’ takes a more forlorn beginning, with an understated build up of catchy guitar chords and an unmistakable pounding drum sample, all layered to those vocals that continue their infection. A highly polished drive time song that features another hit worthy chorus.
Blue Another previous single release, ‘Blue’ is all chirpy keyboards, lovelorn lyrics and a hook that is a basic masterclass in indulgent quirky pop. “I don’t want to feel blue anymore, give me one more night” hymns Marina, in the raw reflection of her admitted personal depression struggles before writing the album.
Forget: ‘Forget’ (“ain’t no time for regret”) heads up another hit worthy track, that the record keeps churning out. Sunny choruses are again underpinned by a more meaningful lyric,creating the beautiful juxtaposition that is heard throughout the album.
Gold: A slowed down tempo filters through ‘Gold’ in comparison to the other dance-floor worthy hits. Reverberating samples and synth sounds are once again the sound of choice, as the disco tinged pop shines.
Can’t Pin Me Down: Possibly Marina’s song writing abilities at its best, with sarcasm-dripping lyrics and a tongue in cheek mockery through-out: “Do you really want me to write a feminist anthem? I’m happy in the kitchen cooking dinner for my husband / All of these contradictions pouring out of me, I’m just another girl in the 21st Century.” The gutsier, attitude filled track feels like a well earned “fuck you” to those that challenge her credibility. A powerful track, that may or may not have you singing back every lyric.
Solitaire: Hauntingly demonstrating her falsetto range, ‘Solitaire’ has a pulsating beat accompaniment, layered with backing vocals and another lyrical piece that’s covered in introspection and honesty.
Better Than That: A girl power track, Marina’s velvety rich tones are in full force backed with electric guitar licks and a rockier bass.
Weeds: Baring her soul once again, Marina effortlessly shifts registers in this openhearted and futile number. ‘I miss all of my ex’s, they’re the only one that know me’ she indulges, as the track makes up a well deserved breather in the album.
Savages: A track that addresses the serious effect of rape culture, this is arguably not one you would expect to find on a past Marina record, however ‘Savages’ is about just that. As a self expressed “non political” person, Marina was inspired to write this track after feeling influenced by the horrendous nature of the crime being embedded in us as a natural topic of conversation and often daily news story. “We live, we die, we steal, we kill, we lie, just like animals, but with far less grace,” Marina addresses the fundamental conversation on what it means to be people in today’s society. Pretty deep, huh?
Immortal: Ending, as it began, stripped back, exposed and polished into a Marina shaped gem. The impressively bare vocal reminds you, if you hadn’t already guessed by the previous eleven tracks, why Marina should be dominating an unavoidable auto-tuned pop industry.
FROOT is out now via Atlantic UK.