Marina and the Diamonds

The Family Jewels

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"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.

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